Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gardening for God: What We Can Learn From Dandelions

I’ve been doing a lot of weeding lately and have noticed a few things about dandelions. They are adaptable; they thrive in all sorts of areas. They are tough; they withstand adverse conditions well. They are incredibly tenacious; simply picking their leaves, flowers, and top roots will not get rid of them. All of those attributes are desirable, so what can we learn from them?

One thing is that those attributes have a common source: the fact that dandelions are very well rooted. A mature dandelion has a very long, strong, tap root that goes far into the soil. That allows it to stay alive in areas and conditions that, superficially, seem less than hospitable. Their root system reaches beyond that apparent adversity to draw what they need from another place. It also explains their tenacity; absent the use of chemicals, you can’t get rid of a dandelion unless you pull out its tap root or at least a good portion of it.

Scripture reflects the importance of being well rooted, albeit in God rather than in soil. It repeatedly speaks of how those rooted in God and His ways are blessed. They are strong. Job 29:19; Ephesians 3:17-19; Colossians 2:6-7. They become wise. Ephesians 3:17-19. They are fruitful. Proverbs 12:12; Ezekiel 17:6. They have beauty and are complete. Ezekiel 31:7; Ephesians 3:17-19. They are able to persist in difficult circumstances, Proverbs 12:3, and to overcome adversity. Isaiah 53:2; Jeremiah 17:7-8. Perhaps that’s why Colossians 2:7 instructs us to be “firmly rooted” in Christ.

Scripture also instructs that those who lose their rootedness in God, or who seek to be rooted in other things, suffer for it. They whither. Job 18:16; Isaiah 5:24. They bear no fruit, or at least no good fruit. Wisdom 4:3-5; Sirach 23:25; Ezekiel 17:7, 9; Hosea 9:16. They become weak, shaken, and susceptible to upheaval. Job 8:16-19; Wisdom 4:3-5. They become weak and eventually die. Sirach 40:15; Ezekiel 17:7, 9; Hosea 9:16.

The point should be clear: we are much better off being rooted in God than not being so. How to grow those roots will be discussed in another post.