The Psalmist tells us of the godly man, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water” (Ps. 1:3). It is very important to understand why the Bible compares us to trees. The language of Scripture is not accidental; it is deliberate and inspired.
The significant fact of life about trees is they grow until they die. When they stop growing, they start dying. But as long as they are alive, they keep growing and increasing in size and strength. I recall as a boy how huge were some of the great old oaks, which then dotted the valley.
A dead tree is an unsightly thing and, in some cases, dangerous. Branches can fall, or the whole tree can come down to damage things under it. We try to cut down our dead trees as soon as possible to improve the appearance of our home or to make room for new growth in our orchard.
But what about dead trees in the church? Remember, the Lord compares us to trees, and, as long as the trees are alive, they grow. Over the years I have seen many problems develop in churches, and almost always no-growth members are a major part of them.
A tree that does not grow has lost the capacity to draw up life-giving water out of the ground. A churchman who does not grow is receiving no life from the water of life, Jesus Christ. He may be planted by the rivers of water, but he is dead at the roots and can gain no sustenance.
We have an obvious alternative: grow or die!
(Taken from A Word in Season, Vol. 7)
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.