In the forest, a small acorn falls to the ground. 4 to 6 weeks later the acorn sprouts into a small oak sapling.
Over the next 20 to 30 years, it will grow into a mighty oak tree. Some live to be 500-600 years old.
I recently came across this verse.
"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3
It reminded me that we are called to help children and families grow in their faith, so that spiritually they are like a mighty oak tree.
How can we see this happen?
We can help children and families develop strong spiritual roots. At the beginning of its life, the oak spends most of its energy on root development. There is an initial root that is called the taproot. It grows deep underground, looking for a dependable supply of moisture.
If you want to grow children and families that are spiritually strong, like a mighty oak tree, then the first step is helping them develop a deep connection with Christ. This is the mots important factor.
A deep faith, the kind of faith that can withstand the winds of doubt, spiritual droughts and storms of life, is a faith that has, first and foremost, a deep connection with Christ. A deep faith that comes from being rooted and grounded in Him.
We know our faith and relationship with Jesus grows deeper and stronger by spending time with Him. As we spend time with Him, our faith roots grow deeper.
Another thing we must do to help kid and families develop a strong "oak tree" kind of faith is to help them get connected to other believers. As the oak tree's main root grows deeper, it also begins growing horizontal roots.
These horizontal roots bring moisture and nutrients for the lifetime of the tree. And when there are other oak trees nearby, The trees will grow their root systems together so they can share nutrients, moisture and minerals. Together they grow side-by-side.
Mighty oak tree faith develops through relationships. Growth comes from and is sustained by being connected to other believers who send spiritual nutrients, prayers and encouragement your way. Take a look at the kids and families in your ministry. Are you giving them opportunities to connect with other believers and grow in their faith through those relationships? A deep faith comes through deep connections with other believers.
As our culture continues its post-Christian slide, only mighty oak trees will be able to withstand the faith assaults that come our way. Like never before, we must be committed to helping kids and families grow oak tree faith.
We must send our kids off to college with mighty oak tree faith.
We must equip volunteers with the tools and training they need to help kids and families grow oak tree faith.
We must bring oak tree sapling faith into community with other oak trees who will help nourish them with the spiritual nutrients they need to grow strong.
I think we must also remember that it takes time to grow a mighty oak tree. And it takes time to grow mighty oak tree faith. All you may see right now in many kids and families you serve, is a small, sapling kind of faith. But if you will continue to care for that sapling faith, it will one day be a mighty oak faith.
Remember this - growing mighty oak tree faith doesn't happen in months or weeks. It happens as you invest in kids and families for years and in some cases, even decades.
But I promise you this - if you will remain faithful...if you will keep caring for that tiny sapling...one day you won't be looking down at a sapling...instead you'll be looking up at mighty oaks that God used you to help grow.