The Little Sprout

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Oaks. We have two of them in our yard. 


Now, in Asia, we never had oaks in the public areas surrounding our apartments. So, when our first fall arrived here in America, I was shocked by the abundance of acorns that those two trees could produce. Mark and I picked up barrels of them for weeks on end.  


oak shoot

With summer just days away, we are discovering that, despite our diligence, not all the acorns were removed from our yard. How do we know this? Because they are sprouting like mad.


When time permits, I sit out in the grass and pull up the little oaks. I’ve found that if I just pull at the leafy shoot, it comes off in my hand and does make the yard look a little better….for a while.


You see, the acorn is still in the ground. With the sturdy stubbornness of an oak, I’ve found it will reappear later, as the same acorn continues to sprout new life. 


So, in order to keep from having hundreds of oaks throughout our grass, I have to find the acorn.


Now, the acorns don’t always come out all in once piece. We all remember from fourth-grade science that when a seed germinates, it splits. Accordingly, the larger the sprout, the greater likelihood I’ll find the acorn in two pieces. But, with a digging and little feeling around, I’ve become pretty adept at “nipping the bud”. 


I’ve taken at least two spiritual applications from the acorn:


1. To bear fruit, it has to be hidden away in the ground. 


Pretty simple, huh? But, let’s go back to John 15:16:


“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…”


That English word translated “go” actually has a far different meaning. Instead, the Greek “hypago” means to withdraw or hide away.  Kinda like what the acorn does, huh? 


Yes, there are times that God calls us to leave where we are living and go somewhere else to serve Him. Yet, that’s not His calling on every person’s life. 


What we find here in John 15:16 is a basic command for every Christian – that of withdrawing from the lime-light. Our old acorn life must be buried out of sight before His new fruit-bearing life can spring forth within. 


Wow. Reading the verse with this new insight makes a lot of difference, doesn’t it? It’s not this blazing-out-with-a-red-banner-to-change-the-world-to-believe-like-me. 


Instead, its a much quieter, much simpler….fall….and….wait.


Which brings me to the second illustration:


2. To bear fruit, the acorn has to look like a wreck.

Could it be that the messiness of my life means that fruit is well on its way?split acorn


He is all about slow growth, you know. Even when He created the first plants, His call upon the earth was that it sprout. He didn’t plop full grown trees onto the world. Instead, He commanded that the dirt “grow green”. He’s more concerned for the process than the finished result. 


Doesn’t that encourage you in a weird sort of way? I know it does me.


So, tell me, how does your life resemble an acorn today?