Photovotional — Growth Rings

treeringsbackgroundCut down a tree and you have a graphic record of the tree’s growth. In temperate regions of the world each ring represents the tree’s annual growth. Counting the number of rings will give you the age of the tree. Some growth rings are thicker than others; it’s dependent on environmental factors such as rainfall, temperatures and amount of sunlight. Thick or thin, there’s always some growth.

What has always intrigued me is that there’s a growth ring for the very last year the tree lived. Trees keep growing until they die.

The tree’s growth is a lesson we can apply to our own personal growth, and our spiritual growth in particular. I’ve been a pastor for a good number of years and have always appreciated the presence of older folks (dare I use “elderly”?) in the Bible classes I’ve led or in the congregation absorbing the taught Word of God while I preach. I come alongside these folks and realize their spiritual depth is the result of years of spiritual growth. Now that I’m in my 60s I find myself joining their ranks, and challenged to keep on growing in my faith.

Unlike trees, we humans don’t come by spiritual growth naturally; we have to be intentional about it. We can easily become stunted saints, plateaued, stuck in one place instead of staying on a pilgrimage.

How do we keep growing in our faith? It means not being satisfied with our current experience of God. It means wanting more input from Holy Scripture and from others who are are also serious about spiritual growth. It means letting God use all our experiences – good, bad, and indifferent – to grow us in Him.

I want to have it said of me what the apostle Paul wrote of the Christians in a certain Greek city. “Your faith is growing more and more.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3) Trees keep growing upward their whole life. I want to as well! You too?

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