Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lessons From A Live Oak Tree

"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees, and flowers, and clouds, and stars."

Martin Luther

My husband and I began our ministry in southwest Georgia. We lived near the town of Thomasville, a beautiful southern city that is culturally rich. We did our personal business and shopping there and often took advantage of that time to explore the city and its local color.

Near the center of the city lies a live oak tree. It is truly majestic. Over 300 years old, the old oak is very stately, almost daunting, with its fascinating limbs spreading 162 feet. We used to visit the old oak and gaze in awe at its grandeur. As I reminisce about the old oak, I now marvel at its beautiful spiritual analogy.

Oak trees can absorb, because of their complex root system, about fifty gallons of water each day, and the older the tree is, the more fruit (acorns) it produces. Wood from an oak is some of the strongest available, and it is resistant to attacks from insects and bacteria. These facts may simply seem trivial, but the Bible refers to the promise of Christians being as "oaks of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:3), and in Psalm 1, it speaks of them as being like a tree planted by water that bears fruit in its season.

That comparison is beautiful for Christians. An oak is strong because of its roots, its inner foundation. An oak is strong because of its ability to absorb water, which continuously feeds the roots, providing nourishment to the entire tree, which gives it beautiful green leaves and fruit. In our walk with God, we are only as strong as our root system, our inner spiritual life that is built through personal prayer and Bible study. Greater strength and maturity in our lives yield greater fruit, and our stability and integrity help us resist attacks from the enemy and the discouraging problems of everyday life.

I have been reading the book Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz. As she wrote about the need for every Christian to have a special quiet time with God each day, I felt convicted to be more disciplined in my personal time with the Lord. It's so easy for me to skip it when I have busy days or am not feeling well, or to hurry through it when other things are pressing. Anne Lotz says that our quiet time is an appointment with God, where Jesus is personally waiting to meet with us and that when we neglect it, we miss His voice and are robbed of true fulfillment, of joy and peace.

I want to have a strong root system, and I want my life to be like that live oak I remember. That would certainly be the best legacy I could leave my children and grandchildren. But I know to be an oak of righteousness, I must leave my own feelings and schedule behind and meet God at every turn. So my prayer today is "Lord, help me, in my weakness, to lean on You for my strength. May I never leave You waiting or disappointed. May I never neglect the most precious gift of my life, but may I always be ready to sacrifice my time and give you all of my heart."


  1. Andrea,
    I am so glad to meet you and thank you for stopping by my place for a visit. I so appreciate your sweet well wishes.

    I love your post today. I live in the middle of eight acres of woods, most of them various varieties of oaks. This post is very personal to me and my lovely trees will remind me of your words to strive to be an oak of righteousness! Thank you for the sweet encouragement during a discouraging time.

    A couple of years ago we visited St. Simons Island and stood under a massive oak like one you speak of, a historic marker, the Wesley Oak, where Charles Wesley preached his first sermon the first Sunday after setting foot ashore. Oh how I wished that tree could have talked!

    May the remainder of your week be sweet!

  2. That tree is stunning; so is your analogy. I want my life to live as an Oak...strong and steady and rooted with the living water of God's abundance. I, too, am being more deliberate and intentional in my daily quiet time and in the memorization of scripture. God is so tender to me in these moments. What we get in those times are some of the most precious moments we will ever have with Jesus. How I love him! Thanks for sharing your heart here.

    PS: Going to try your recipe for chicken casserole. I'm a lousy cook.

  3. Andrea,

    I absolutely love your blog (it's funny how God brings people together:). Your post today is exactly what I needed. A somewhat stressful day is ahead and your prayer touched my heart and I know that God was speaking to me. Thank you so much for that! I cannot tell you how much I needed it.

    You and I seem to have much in common. Your pictures inspire me greatly as I love the same types of things-Victoriana, roses, tea, live oak trees, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and of course, God.

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a kind comment. It is a blessing to me:) You also seem to enjoy the classics so I invite you to visit another blog that I have with my friend Lori, A Dickens of a Book Club. We read only the classics (currently Little Dorrit) and then discuss it on the blog. The link is on my list of favorite blogs to which your blog will be added. When you have the time I would love for you to email me (also on my blog) so that we can chat more:)

    Have a blessed day,


  4. I am new here! What a great blog :)

  5. Hi Andrea,
    What a beautiful analogy of our relationship with the Father. I'm always amazed at how the Lord can teach spiritual lessons by what is so familiar and common while others pass by and think nothing of it. He is amazing isn't He?

    I hope you have a wonderful evening!
    xoxo Cori

  6. Oh my...the picture of my Saviour waiting for my appointment with Him and in my busyness neglecting that quiet time...I am convicted!

    My granddaddy pastored a church many years ago in South Georgia near Homerville. I was very young but I remember the lovely trees and sandy yards where I used to play. I loved your analogy and the picture!

  7. I made your chicken casserole tonight! Delicious. I burned my hand in the process, yet another reason why I should NEVER be allowed in the kitchen...EVER!


  8. Hi,
    Until moving to Texas I had never heard or seen a "Live Oak" tree. They are so graceful and magnificent!

  9. Oak trees....I have precious memories at my Bible College "Under the Oaks"....tables and chairs in a courtyard shaded by Oak trees. Prayer times at 6 a.m. and a surprise birthday tea for me by dorm friends and deep discussions with Bible profs that wanted to get to know the students better. Thank you for the science lesson on the trees and the analogy to the Christian life just as Psalm 1 does!


Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,