Saturday, December 19, 2015

Created to Grow--by Linden Malki

Pine nuts (or pinion nuts) are widely used in Lebanese foods. Some years ago, my brother-in-law brought us some seeds for the pine trees that provide the nuts. I tried over and over to grow Lebanese pine trees. I could get them to sprout and grow into little Christmas trees about 10-15 inches tall, but  that's all. We gave seeds to friends with green thumbs, and I don't think any of them got anything bigger than that, either.  Somehow I finally got a few seeds to sprout in a flowerpot, and grow big enough to transplant it into a flowerbed.  Could never make it work again, but one of those sprouts grew into a big tree.  From what I can find out, these are similar to the Italian stone pine; they grow into an umbrella or lollipop shape with a conventional trunk and a round top. The flowerbed in question is a raised bed between a driveway and a fence, and the tree roots got big enough to crack the rock and cement retaining border, and the county fire inspectors required us to keep the lower limbs trimmed to about 10 feet above the ground.

Jesus used the illustration of a grain of mustard seed as a starting point for faith. This small seed can become a large tree; this is how God works. It's OK to start out small when we first learn about faith. Sometimes it never grows much more than houseplant size,  but is designed with the capacity to grow into a large and productive tree.  If you look at the way the world is made, all living things start small, as single cells. Everything in the universe is made of less than a hundred different kinds of atoms, and these are made of three basic smaller particles which interact in ways that we are just beginning to understand.

What does it take for a sapling to become a full-sized tree? Basically, air, water, soil  and light, all provided by the Creator.  The seed provides the startup nutrients; as it grows, the tree is able to suck up water and nutrients from the soil, and the miracle of preloaded internal programming that makes not only everything else the tree needs from water, air and sunlight--just make your own list of what all the environment gets back from the tree.

Last night I attended the graduation of a grandson from Biola University. This group of 200+ young people transitioning from dependents and students to adults, prepared to give their energy, effort, and expertise back to their communities and the wider world, was a great reminder that God creates us to grow.  We are all intended to grow from seedlings drinking in,  to disciples continually growing and giving back to God, each other, and  our world.

No comments:

Post a Comment