Here on the dry plains of Saskatchewan we haven’t had any significant rain for six weeks. The grass has turned brown; it’s not dead, but it’s not growing either. The trees are green and show no sign of stress. The difference? Grass roots are shallow and depend on surface moisture provided by rain; tree roots go deep, down to the water table.
The first Psalm says this of the person who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates upon it day and night: “he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
What do other people see when they look at Christians? Do they see people who are tired, withered, just hanging on to spiritual life? Or do they see people with a living, growing, vibrant faith? If we resemble grass rather than trees, is it any wonder that people do not find themselves drawn to our faith?
There is a great void in our world today, people feel a lack of hope, a lack of purpose, and they try to fill that void with things and activities that do not give them hope or purpose. We believe we have the answer, but it doesn’t seem that anyone is interested. Perhaps what we need is not better techniques of evangelism, but a revitalized faith in our own lives.
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). Some folks think they are getting deep into the Word when they are really following a man-made interpretation of a small part of the Word and ignoring the rest. Such teachings are grass, they will fade and they provide no meaningful nourishment.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (1 Timothy 3:16). So let’s read it all, even the passages that are difficult, that trouble our hearts. Reproof and correction are necessary for spiritual growth and vitality.
To be revitalized we need to drink deeply of the water of life, the Word of God. Superficial reading won’t do it. Reading only brief, familiar passages in a haphazard way, never getting to know the context and the background of those passages, is like depending upon brief drizzles of rain. They won’t sustain us in the heat of the day.
May we appear as an oasis in the desert of this world, not just part of the arid landscape, but a sign of hope.