Two essentials for growing a healthy tree are being in a good location and having the proper kind of soil. The book of Psalms actually opens with a healthy tree illustration that applies to us as Christian leaders.
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalms 1:1-3 NLT)
The word picture in this passage is powerful. Can you imagine a row of apple trees growing along the bank of a river bent over and full of bright red apples set against the backdrop of lush green leaves? This is a wonderful illustration of what healthy trees with healthy roots might look like. The lesson taught in this psalm is all about having the proper surroundings and nutrition.
The worldly culture around us will often try to draw us into shortcuts and short-term thinking that only produce shallow, dry roots. The Psalmist writes that resisting the temptation to follow worldly standards will bring many joys and much fruit. Trust in the instruction of God’s Word and associate with those who will help keep you strong in your faith journey. It’s easy to get caught up in the crowd around us, so be very intentional and selective about those you have in your inner circle of friends and advisors.
The image of a flowing river past the roots of flourishing trees fits well with the phrase: But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. Healthy, growing Christian leaders have a constant stream of prayerful thinking about what God would have them do in each situation. They have positioned themselves in the midst of other healthy leaders who are seeking the same things too. Together they bear much fruit.
Take time today to reflect on how healthy your surroundings and root systems are. Are you being nurtured the way you should to be as healthy as you could be? Are you surrounded by godly advisors who will keep you strong and help you stand against the storms of life? The right surroundings and the proper nutrition are essential to your health as a leader. Be intentional today about tending to your roots. Good roots are essential for growing great leaders.
“Storms make oaks take deeper root.” ~ George Herbert