Deep Roots Support Our Limbs

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

I’ve just finished reading Casting Crowns’ lead singer, Mark Hall’s book, Thrive. Great book!

In his book, Mark talks about an enormous oak tree in Alabama. He explains that the invisible roots that support everything going on above ground are as massive as the visible limbs that we are able to see.

He compares the tree to us.

We need deep roots to support our limbs. We need to dig deep into the Bible to learn how we should live, but we need to move from merely studying. We need to reach out our limbs to help others, and apply the knowledge we gain by allowing God to use us.

Mark says we were made to thrive, not just survive. He writes that the only way to thrive is to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

To do that, we have to study who the Bible says God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are, and who we are in relation to them.

It is our personal relationship with Jesus that defines us. Not our parents’ relationship. Not our siblings’ relationship. Nor our neighbors’ relationship. But OUR relationship.

In writing this book, Mark’s goal is for us to realize a relationship with Christ doesn’t happen just because we sit in a church. Or because our family did. We have to make the commitment to continue to grow in our own personal relationship. That’s the roots.

Strong roots support the tree during life’s storms.

When I was a pre-schooler living in Norfolk, Virginia, a hurricane uprooted a huge Weeping Willow tree in our back yard and sent it crashing through the back porch, and through part of my bedroom. That tree looked healthy on the outside, but  underneath, it’s roots were shallow.

We can look like we’re living the life God wants us to live with all the busy-ness of “good works” we’re involved in, but if we haven’t dug our roots deep into the Bible, we’re apt to topple over when the storms hit. Just like that Weeping Willow in my backyard.

On the other hand, we can spend all our time studying, studying, studying, digging those deep roots, and never reach out and apply what we’re learning to help others.

That’s what a friend of mine calls a stinky sponge. You know, the sponge that has soaked up the water and is left to sit on the counter without being used.

If the water is never squeezed out, that sponge is going to stink.

Let’s not be a stinky sponge. Let’s dig our roots deep into the Word of God, and then squeeze it out through our limbs of outreach to others.

Leave your comments below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)

I wish you well.


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Proud of You

As Pilot and I unloaded our shopping cart onto the check-out counter, I noticed the cashier in the aisle next to ours.

“That’s one of my former students.”

“Good or bad?”

“Bad. Good. I need to talk with him.”

Through the years while I taught, and since I’ve retired from teaching, I’ve often run into former students. So seeing a former student wasn’t anything new. But I hadn’t seen J, as I’ll call him, since he was in 6th grade. I wanted to find out how he was doing.

God had provided me with another grace-drop.

J was scanning his customer’s order when I walked to the end of his aisle.

“Hi, J. I’m Mrs. Quandt. Your 3rd grade teacher.”

Recognition. Then a shy smile.

“Hi. I didn’t recognize you.”

“That’s okay. I recognized you. How you doing? You’ve graduated already, right?”

Not only had J  graduated, he was in college working toward a double bachelor’s degree.

“Excellent! I’m really proud of you.”

Again, a smile.

Go back 12 years…J transferred to our school after his parents divorced. His mother had several abusive live-ins while J was in my class. J had a really tough time. J threw chairs and anything else he could get his hands on. At one point, I told him to sit at the table next to me. He proceeded to throw the chairs away from the table, then sat under it.

“I hate you! You’re the meanest teacher I’ve ever had!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way. You can finish your work under the table.”

J never threw another thing the rest of the year, and our relationship definitely improved.

Three years later, I saw J at his middle school. He was a leader in the Junior ROTC program. I was so proud of him.

So I’m thinking…aren’t there times we throw things at God? We yell at Him? Chafe against His discipline? Tell God He isn’t doing things the correct way? That’s when God tells us He’s sorry we feel that way. Then He lets us cool off under the table of his love and protection, where we’ll be safe. When we’re ready to crawl out, He’s right there waiting for us.

God’s got a better plan for us. He knows our potential, even when we don’t. God knows the good things we’ll accomplish, even when we don’t believe it’s possible. God created us. Knit us together. He goes before us and prepares the way. Our job is to remember to follow His path for our life. Our success doesn’t surprise God. And you know what? We make him proud.

Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God. Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night. They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.  Psalm 1:1-3

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.



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