The giant trees of northern California hold a great lesson for the Church.


We can learn a lot from nature if we stop long enough to take a close look and dig a little deeper. One such lessonredwood comes from the giant redwoods and sequoias in northern California. As with an iceberg, the real story lies below the surface and out of sight. For the iceberg, the largest part lies beneath the water and out of sight. For the giant trees, the opposite is true. They can grow to a height of 300 feet with a trunk diameter exceeding 20 feet, and live for 3,000 years. If you’ve ever been in these forests, it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

The real story, however, is that the roots of these towering, majestic specimens go no deeper than two or three feet. To compensate for the lack of depth, the roots of the adjacent trees intertwine with one another providing support and shared nourishment. Consequently, just beneath the forest floor lies a massive intertwining matrix of roots as the trees of the forest use and depend on each other to stay strong against all the forces of nature.


What a lesson for us. The tallest and most impressive trees in the world depend on each other. They actually work together. What a concept! For a single tree of another species to survive, it must have deep roots. This requires a deep layer of fertile soil. It it’s not there, the tree will die. What a picture of the Christian life! God may plant us in a place that seems barren and dry with little fertile soil, but yet He desires and expects us to grow into our unique version of a redwood or giant sequoia. In order to do that, we must surround ourselves with like-minded believers who are willing to support nourish each other. If we don’t, we’ll never make it. This is a perfect picture of the Church, and an essential element is the one-anothering between the individual members. Lone Ranger Christians have no place in the Church.

forest fireJesus said that He would build His Church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. I see His Church like a northern California forest, filled with strong, towering giant sequoias, resistant to everything, including fire. In fact, when fires come, the heat pops the cones open, distributing the seeds on the forest floor that has been fertilized by the ashes. Through adversity comes growth, and the same is true for the Church.

Let the message of these towering giants sink in. They grow in adversity and survive by supporting and nourishing one another. Perhaps this explains the sad state of the typical church in America.


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Redwood photo by H Dragon
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Forest fire photo by Cameron Strandberg
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