In one of his books, Ravi Zacharias tells an interesting story about the need for deep roots. He said:
“When my family and I lived in England some years ago, a terrible windstorm hit much of the country. Thousands of trees were felled that night. Some days later we were walking outside Buckingham Palace, and my wife noticed something very significant. The trees were huge and very tall, but their roots were unbelievably shallow. We stared at this disproportion, not being horticulturally literate, we just talked about it and went on.
We happened to be visiting some friend after that and expressed our surprise at the gigantic trees that were supported by such short roots. What we heard was a fascinating lesson for life. The water level below the soil in England is so close to the surface that the roots do not have to penetrate very deep to find their nourishment. As a result, the roots stay shallow, and even though the trees are massive and sturdy on the outside, the first major storm uproots them with very little resistance offered. What instruction is contained in that illustration. It is not sufficient to have roots; the roots must go deep.”1
In Psalm 1:3 we read about the need to be well-rooted in the Word of God. “The righteous man is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers.” The overall product of delighting in the Word is that the believer becomes like towering redwood tree with roots firmly dug into the bedrock. Notice the how this imagery suggests two characteristics of the rooted life.
A tree that is planted by the banks of a river suggests permanence. It’s impossible for a strong tree to have high branches without having deep roots. It would become top-heavy and topple over in the wind. The same is true with Christians. It’s impossible for us to grow in the Lord without entwining our roots around His Word and deepening our life in His commands. A Christian who is grounded in the Lord becomes a person of great stability. Circumstances will change, storms will come and go, times of drought will bring spiritual barrenness, but nonetheless they will remain constant in their faith.
A tree that produces fruit suggests productivity. Some trees provide fruit (John 15:1-7), others give shade, and others are made into lumber. So too, Christians should provide spiritual food and comfort to their neighbors, as well as use their time and talents to build people up in the Lord.
1. Ravi Zacharias, Cries of the Heart (Nashville, TN: W Publishing, 2002), 185-186.