Summary: We must have our roots grown deeply in Christ if we are to find spiritual sustenance and stability.
Roots, Ripples & Reference Points
Lessons from the Lake, Part One
July 9, 2006
What do you think of when you think of roots? You might think of trees or plants. You might think of anything else that grows. Maybe you think of the miniseries that appeared on TV in the 1970s?
Remember that – the story was called Roots, and it was the story of the heritage, the roots, of a man named Alex Haley, whose ancestors were brought to the U.S. as slaves. That’s one kind of roots. We all have those kinds of roots in our lives – our ancestry.
These kinds of roots mean where we came from – including the soil in which our lives were rooted even before we were born. My roots are Irish and German. 100% Irish on my dad’s side, 100% German on my mother’s side, so I’m 50% each, split right down the middle.
My family would probably tell you that my Irish roots explain my temper. They don’t call them the Fighting Irish for nothing.
Roots are a vital thing for us to consider. Where we came from is only part of what we must consider. Where we’re going, how we’re living our lives now, how we’re prepared for the future, also relates to the kinds of roots we have in our lives now. And that’s where the tree, the plants, the growing things analogy, comes in.
You’ve seen the little cards we have available here - Are you rooted in a church? This communicates the same basic idea. It says “a tree doesn’t grow unless it has roots.” “You also need spiritual roots set deep into God’s Word and others.”
My thinking on this message began a few months ago, when I was at my in-law’s lake house in Arkansas. The lake level was way down, and there were things exposed on the shoreline that hadn’t been exposed since the White River valley was flooded when Beaver Dam was built in 1962, creating Beaver Lake.
One of the things I saw was the remnants of this tree. Now, the analogy breaks down somewhat, because clearly, this tree has been dead for a long time. But I want you to notice something. Despite being underwater for more than 40 years, this tree is still here. And I tried to move it – it isn’t going anywhere without a chain saw, or a backhoe. The water level on the lake has risen again, so it’s submerged once more.
But, it’s not the weight of the remaining limbs and trunk holding this tree in place, because as you can see, there’s not much left. It’s the roots. They must be very strong, and deep, and widespread, to hold on through the flood and the stress of being underwater that long.
I began to think of the biblical analogies about people, and the spiritual roots we all have. So today is part one of a three- part message I’m calling
Roots, Ripples & Reference Points, Lessons from the Lake
In two weeks, we’ll look at part two of my lessons from the lake, about ripples, and then the next time I preach after that, we’ll look at part three, about reference points. The apostle Paul also recognized the significance of roots in our spiritual lives.
He wrote this to the Colossians:
Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV) 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Being rooted and grounded in Him is a vital component of our life in Christ. Many other passages of scripture communicate this idea as well. The Word tells us that being well-rooted in Christ is a strong place to be, while the opposite place, having shallow roots, or roots planted in poor soil, is a dangerous place to be.
Consider the key phrase, used twice in these verses, which tell us clearly that where our roots are spread is critical in terms of how we will grow, or whether we even survive.
Look at these verses again. Verse 6 - continue to live – where – “in Him.” Verse 7 - rooted and built up – where – “in Him.”
Where you sink your roots matters. If you sink it deeply into the soil of the world, you’ll end up drawing spiritual nutrition from the world, and you’ll be like the desert bush in Jeremiah 17, or like the one with no root in the parable of the sower. We’ll look briefly at those scriptures in a moment.
On what do you depend for your emotional and spiritual sustenance? How deeply are your roots sunk into either the world, or into Him, the things of God, the Word of God, the Kingdom. These are the questions we want to ask ourselves this morning.