The Test of Time
Just Thinking Magazine Editor Danielle DuRant reflects on what it means to be rooted in God.
This article introduces our latest Just Thinking Magazine, issue 27.4. Follow the links below to read the articles.
A few weeks after I moved into my house, I discovered a longstanding business in town was being torn down. Piles of antique brick lay in rubble, yet I saw something else: a moss-covered patio in my bare backyard with a sweetly scented magnolia providing shade. Soon friends spent hours with me breaking up stubborn Georgia clay and tossing aside roots, rocks, and nails to prepare the ground. The time invested and care in following detailed instructions seemed a bit overwrought initially—after all, I didn’t live in a floodplain—but every guideline said a solid foundation was critical. Now more than 25 years later, my patio sits on firm ground and happily, the fragrant magnolia tree is still providing shade. They have stood the test of time.
Jesus speaks of trees and foundations in his Sermon on the Plain, recorded in Luke’s gospel. Jesus declares, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit” (Luke 6:43-44). When one’s life is rooted in God, it will be evident, says Jesus. A tree planted in fertile soil and cared for will produce good fruit.
When one’s life is rooted in God, it will be evident.
Jesus builds upon this metaphor a few verses later: “I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete” (verses 47-49). Just as a “tree is recognized by its own fruit,” so a structure shaken to its core will reveal its true foundation. Investing time and care to follow God’s instruction—brick upon brick year after year—lays a solid foundation that will stand the test of time and even the onslaught of storms.
“Obedience is not a matter of rule keeping but of faithfulness,” observes Darrel Bock in his commentary on Luke. “[Jesus] is not formulating some ethic that we could not follow independent of a relationship with him. Having a relationship with him is at the base of faithfulness.”
“Obedience is not a matter of rule keeping but of faithfulness.”
Jesus says in John 10, he is the Good Shepherd who tenderly cares for his sheep; his sheep, in turn, listen to him and follow him. How we are loved! Hour by hour, day by day, may our lives reveal that we are truly his beloved sheep, entrusting ourselves to his care and faithfully heeding his every word.
Danielle DuRant is Director of Research & Writing at RZIM and Editor of Just Thinking.
This article introduces issue 27.4, click the button below to download a PDF of this edition.
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