Acorns – inside each one is a small seed that carries all the DNA or chemical make up required to become a giant oak tree.
Each acorn that falls to the ground is up against a lot in order to succeed. It must end up in the right spot..where it can receive sunlight and rain. It must be shielded or somehow passed over by squirrels and chipmunks and various other critters that feed off its protein. it must be given time to germinate.
If all this happens, then the acorn might just begin to grow into an oak tree.
But in order for it to grow upward and outward, it must grow downward. The first thing that happens in an acorn is that the seed begins to grow a taproot deep down into the soil. Only after this, will a tiny green shoot grow upward above the soil. Finally, after about 4-5 years, if it is somehow able to avoid the many dangers of animals and storms and flooding, then it will grow into a small little tree known as a sapling. And eventually, through the years, that sapling matures into an oak tree.
Oak trees are know as a symbol of strength, sturdiness, beauty and toughness.
It is on record that some oak trees, especially the red oak in the north, can live upwards of 1,000 years.
And they can be huge. One oak tree in Poland measured over 43 meters around its base.
Oak trees are a picture of steadiness in an restless and ever-changing world.
Some of us are still in the acorn phase. We may have said a prayer, or surrendered our heart to Jesus at some point, but for some reason, we’ve never gone any deeper. No taproots have formed, and we are still just an acorn laying on the ground….useless, exposed, weak, and thrown about by the ever changing winds of culture…at high risk of being destroyed by the evil one, or swayed by public opinion, or tossed about by whatever new distraction comes our way.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
This is no small call. And it certainly doesn’t sound like Jesus expects us to remain acorns.
At some point, as believers, we must begin to grow. A taproot must begin to form. And, having been in church my whole life, it is my estimation, that most church goers are either still in the acorn phase, or you have grown enough to become a sapling. But where are all the oaks? Oh every church has them. That person of faith…many times an elderly person, but it doesnt have to be. I thing of little Nathan Norman. Just 13 years old. He’s battled cancer for most of his life. But because of all he’s been through, he’s a giant of the faith. I think of Benji Nasser, who just went home to be with the Lord. He was an oak….a strong and steady believer who inspired thousands with His genuine love for Christ.
1. Life is fragile
We’ve all seen how in just a few weeks time we can go from riding high in the stock market, everything cooking on all cylinders, to total devastation. It’s amazing the transformation we have undergone as a nation and as a world in just 6 weeks. Shocking.
And it is a reminder to us all….life is fragile. It is tissue-paper thin. Things can turn on a dime. Are we prepared?
when my doctor told me how bad my blood tests were and how if i wasn’t in decent shape I’d be dead right now…it was a wake-up call to me that my life is truly fragile.
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
We do not know what tomorrow holds. But thankfully, we know who holds our tomorrow. That brings me to my second lesson.
2. Faith is essential
I asked this question in an earlier message: When Fear comes knocking at your door, will Faith answer?
What is faith?
Heb.11:1 reminds us that it is the substance or the assurance of things hoped for. But faith is also the evidence of things unseen. I don’t see it. I don’t feel it. But faith is the confidence and the assurance that I WILL see it in due time.
God reminded me of how faith works in all of this.
God showed me once again, that my faith has a long ways to go.
Just like an oak tree, faith takes time to grow.
3. Fear is not an option
365 times in scripture we are told….do not fear.
And it is in His perfect presence that we find perfect peace which allows us to rest in His perfect plan.
And when you are at rest…you are not in fear.
His power is perfect in our weakness.
Anxiety and worry keep us from hearing God.
Why do we worry?
Quite simply, because We are focused on the wrong authority. We are in effect saying, “God I’m not sure you are capable of handling this.”
So one thing I began to do, was read Phil. 4:6-7 over and over again.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
One of the cures for worry and anxiety is thankfulness!
It’s amazing, but when we begin to truly just live a live of thanksgiving, it will take your mind off of the negative situation you are in and place you in a positive mindset so you can overcome. This leads to the peace of God which passes ALL understanding. No words can describe it. And this peace places a shield of protection around your heart and your mind through Jesus Christ.
It was the peace of God and HIs sustaining grace that kept my mind at peace through those 24 days. But when I began to worship the Lord with thanksgiving, He brought me peace that passes all understanding.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Life is fragile
Faith is essential
Fear is not an option
4. No matter what – keep your eyes on Jesus
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Keep your eyes on Jesus – the author – He is writing your story. Yes there may be some rough chapters, yes there will be some challenges, some which may seem insurmountable . Yes there will be many difficult and dark days. But keep your eyes on Jesus. He is chastening you and molding you to turn you from an acorn into an oak tree. He is pushing you to grow up and become a man or a woman of God. And He is the finisher of your Faith.
Jesus sees in every acorn, a potential oak tree!!
And as the Author OF YOUR STORY and Finisher of YOUR faith….He is standing in your corner and exhorting you….”LOOK AT ME!
LISTEN TO ME! FOLLOW ME!!!! TRUST ME!
YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN DO IT !! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!”