After building, tilling and planting two green houses and over 100 acai berry trees in villages along one of the Amazon tributaries on this year’s mission trip to Brazil, our team was treated to a little jungle education, courtesy of our guide Milton.
Milton was raised on the Negro River and has an encyclopedic mind for the plants and wildlife of the Amazonian basin. On this particular foray into a primeval forest, he introduced us to “the walking tree.”
The walking tree is identified by roots that extend above the jungle floor in a similar fashion to the way a tripod supports a camera. Jungle lore has it that the walking tree is able to reposition itself to better capture precious beams of light that pierce the darkness below the towering canopy of dense trees. It does so by sprouting new root tendrils in the direction of the light and letting old roots in the opposite direction die and rot away. (Some biologists believe the walking tree’s roots are searching for better soil rather than light). Regardless, the effect of these simultaneous actions is a virtually imperceptible “walk” from one spot to a better one.
The walking tree is a wonderful metaphor for how we choose to live our lives.
Some love having a strong, rigid root system. They grow where they’re planted, take care of their own, stay in Holiday Inns where there are “no surprises,” and take few risks. They grow a minimal number of new tendrils in their lives and will keep all their roots firmly planted in comfortable soil. And very possibly, they don’t even recognize it as the jungle darkness closes in around them and blots out the sun (spelled, “Son”).
These are the people who bury their talent in the ground. They believe God is a conservative at heart and will reward them for coloring between the lines and playing it safe in life.
But God is a “walking tree” and calls us to be walking trees too! Jesus had no home…no place to lay his head. Money was a root…a root of all sorts of evil. Every possession represented an anchor and there was too much to do to be weighed down.
How about you? Have you checked your roots lately? Are they so deep in the ground you can’t see them, or are they long and ready to be stretched to move you in the direction of the Son? In God’s jungle, roots are made for walking!
I wonder if it would be a good time for you to let some of your old roots die away and grow a few new ones? You can start by naming the roots that need to be shed, whether those be toxic relationships, fears of any kind, addictions or the love of possessions. Then look to the Son. He’s moving in so many exciting directions and places. Pick one and grow in that direction.
It’s a jungle out there! JMI is here to help you chart your course and we have a lot of people and places you need to know. Contact [email protected] and let’s talk about where the Son is shining for you!
So, as Jesus told the healed paralytic, “Take up your bed and WALK!”