Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Springfield Today September 4, 2018

September 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Blog

Good Moanin’ Springfieldians,

Several years ago, not long after the construction of the Benner Library and Resource center on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University, the college decided to create a quad between the library and Ludwig Center, the student union building.  It was then, and remains today, the most heavily traveled spot on campus.  A generous gift was received from the Gerald Decker family.  And soon the work began to transform this barren land into the “Decker Quad.”

The shape at the center of the quad was designed as a large P, with the names of senior class presidents and associated student council (ASC) presidents to be placed around the brick walkway.  Plantings were added to enhance the beauty of the area and collegiate benches were distributes throughout the quad.  The sidewalks were expanded, and a small stage was added at the south end to facilitate student and campus gatherings.

All of these features were important parts of the plan – but the heart of the entire project was in the middle of a large raised area bordered with brick and stone.

There, with great pageantry, the university planted the Olivet Tree of Learning, and it is then that the story turned funny – or not so funny, for the people at ONU.  Within a few weeks following the dedication of the quad and the planting of the tree, the tree’s leaves began to discolor and fall to the ground.  The revered Tree of Learning, which was to be a living symbol of learning, died!  Very quickly, and without much fanfare, I even think under the cover of darkness one night, the grounds crew uprooted the dead tree and replaced it with a healthy new sapling.  And very few knew about the new tree.

But, once again, little by little this new tree also began to want, and it wasn’t all that long that the new Tree of Learning was also dead.  When you’re a university of higher education the fact that the living symbol of learning keeps dying is not a good thing.

Jokes soon followed.

Soon the university, with the help of a good horticulturist, diagnosed the problem.  There wasn’t sufficient soil and proper drainage for the roots of the tree to sink deeply into the ground below the now paved and bricked lawn.  The trees simply could not flourish without strong roots.  So once more, with renewed vigor and enhanced understanding, another new tree, another Tree of Learning was planted in an improved soil base.  Sure enough, once the root system began to spread down and out, the tree flourished. Learning was once again alive and well at Olivet.

Now this tree is a living metaphor of life.  We all must have a strong and healthy root system if we are to thrive.  Jesus told a parable that taught us this same lesson.  He taught:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (Matthew 13:3-10 NLT)

And Paul challenged the Ephesians by praying that they would be rooted and established in love. (3:17) And He challenged the Colossians when he said to them, “So then, just as you received Christ, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Col 2:6-7 NIV)

How’re your roots.

Are you actively doing those things that will give you a strong root system that will hold you steady during times of storms and great challenges. Spiritual roots don’t just happen, we must do our part.

If you’re not consistently in the Word you won’t have the root system you need.

If you’re not having consistent time of prayer…

If you’re not making worship gatherings and prayer gatherings a priority..,

If you’re not actively involved in an areas of ministry…

It will be impossible for you to have the root system you need to flourish in life.

How’s you root system, and what will you begin to do today, so that you can flourish?

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