Roots of a silver maple tree

Several years ago, my wife and I planted a small silver maple tree next to a swing set in our back yard. It would provide shade over the swing set on hot summer days to allow grandchildren to play outside in relative comfort.

With the passage of time the tree grew and it’s root system expanded. Eventually it dislodged one of the swing sets anchors. It also began to creep across the yard looking like the blue veins on the back of a laborer’s hand. Mowing became increasingly difficult as I bumped over the roots and occasionally got hung up on them. As I pondered this new reality I found a glimpse of grace.

The roots may be a nuisance to me, but they provide vital nutrients to the tree. If it wasn’t for the root system—as inconvenient as they may be—the tree would die.

Jesus once compared his relationship to the disciples as fruit attached to a vine. “I am the vine, you are the branches” he said. “Cut off from me, you can do nothing.” Cut from the source of life, we wither and die, too.


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