I have a necklace. I like my necklace. Not only is it a tangible reminder of what God can do, but a good conversation starter. A few months back a friend of mine made it for me. I call her work Wearable Scriptures. The little speck in the glass vial around my neck in the picture above is a mustard seed. There are a few scriptures in the Bible about mustard seeds. For the longest the following verse was my favorite Bible verse about mustard seeds:
Yeah! Me moving a mountain!? Woohoo! I mean visualizing the relocation of a mountain is much more grander than uprooting a tree. More people will see it. More people will know about it.
But lately I’ve realized that’s it’s possible to read the Bible selfishly, as if it’s all about me. And it’s not. There’s a lot of scripture I’ve found myself reading for the one-hundredth time but for the first time with a humble heart. And mustard seed sized faith that uproots trees is one of them.
Do you know the amount effort that has to go into uprooting a tree? I don’t know that much about dendrology (the study of trees) so I surfed a few blogs and I found some interesting stuff.
First of all, it’s seems like people either love or hate mulberry trees. For some they provide the perfect shade. However, for others they are one of the most stubborn trees to have on your property. There are some species of mulberry trees that do not need to cross-pollinate in order to sprout a new plant. Therefore, a person may find multiple small mulberry plants growing from a single tree. Now I could go on and on and on about how this makes me think of how one sin leads to another. But I leave the preaching to my pastor.
Now here’s where it gets super interesting. I googled how to get rid of a mulberry tree and the work seems pretty extreme. First you must cut the tree down. The next step is killing the stump. After that you must do your best to pull up all of the root system, because if any of the root system is left in the ground it will sprout a new mulberry tree. But to ensure the entire root system is removed it’s recommended you use chemicals to kill off the roots, which you should avoid coming in contact with. The chemicals also kill all other living organisms as well. Bummer.
Now I’m pretty sure that when Jesus shared these words with his disciples there were not any root killing chemicals in existence. However, I think the process of uprooting a tree was something Jesus’ disciples could identify with. And they know that it’s clost to impossible to uproot a tree on your own. People were more in tune with nature and agriculture back then. No email, cars, or Facebook, you kind of had no choice. Hahaha!
I began to imagine the mulberry tree as a stronghold, dilemma, problem, or worry in my life that I just can’t shake or uproot on my own. No matter how I try to chop it down, wipe it out, pull it out of my life by the roots, or even apply harmful chemicals to the situation I can’t do it alone. Some stuff is so deeply rooted in our lives that the only option for deliverance, recovery, or removal is Jesus. Doing it on our own leads to the similar results to the chemicals being put on the ground to kill the root system: death to all life that it contacts. But Jesus says that with faith the size of a mustard seed I can simply SAY to a mulberry tree “Be uprooted and be planted in the sea” and it will obey. No shovel, saws, or chemicals needed. That’ truth is powerful.
A few weeks back I went on a run at the lake and decided to pay close attention to the trees. To my surprise I began to notice the different features of the different types of trees at the lake. I’m no nature buff so I can’t rattle off the different kind of trees I saw but there was a variety.
What I found really interesting is that some of the root systems were visible and they stretched out from the tree almost 20 feet. To me it was symbolic of how far and deep a sin or dilemma can get entangled into our life. Just looking at these trees I can’t imagine trying to uproot these things on my own strength. But Jesus tells us that in him, we can say to the tree “Move” and it will. And not only will the tree be uprooted but it will move to a place that its totally not even created to take root and thrive. But it’ll be away from you and that’s what matters right?
So here’s to seed faith that uproots trees! My days of swinging an ax at my mulberry trees are over. I have a seed that can clean out forests!