When I was a young boy I remember having adults at church say to me, “you are growing like a weed!”
While I understand the idea they were trying to express, I’m not sure comparing a child with a weed was the best choice. It didn’t exactly motivate me to be a better me. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that weeds do have a few admirable qualities. Weeds are tough, able to survive and thrive in harsh conditions. On the flip side, they are generally hated and people spend a great deal of time and money to eradicate them.
Perhaps a better choice would have been, “you are growing like a tree!” There are several similarities between trees and people. As a matter of fact, the growth of a tree provides are decent parallel to the spiritual growth of a Christian. Let’s look at a few similarities between the spiritual growth of a Christian and the physical growth of a tree.
-in the beginning they are exuberant and bold (the seeding has to push its way up through the dirt to make it to the light or it won’t survive.)
-early in their life they are fragile and vulnerable
-early in their life they use all of the energy they receive from the sunlight to grow bigger and stronger
-early in their life they don’t bear fruit yet since all of their energy goes into growth
-as they grow they must have encounter resistance in order to grow strong (If a tree grows in an indoors it will have to be staked to a post when it gets bigger or else it will simply fall over under its own weight, because it didn’t have the resistance of the wind to make it grow strong.)
-without enough exposure to the light they will become sickly and eventually die
-when they are healthy and mature they begin to produce fruit
-unhealthy trees that don’t bear fruit look a lot like the healthy ones that do bear fruit
-they are susceptible to outside influences such as disease and parasites
-a healthy mature tree with deep roots is not easily toppled
-the ones that are planted by rivers of water thrive and produce a lot of fruit