In the Bible, we are often referred to as plants. Our process of growing is described in detail all over Scripture. However, it’s important to note that nowhere are we compared to sunflowers or zinnias. We aren’t pretty. We aren’t nice. We’re useful. We are trees or vines – plants that bear fruit.
Psalm 1 explains it this way. “Blessed is the man … [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (verses 1-3).
We are like trees, planted by streams of water. The streams are our relationship with God; they nourish us and help us grow. Without them, we would wither and die away. The emphasis here is that our growth has nothing to do with us. If we’re trees, we didn’t plant ourselves by the water on purpose. The water nourishes us and we have nothing to do with it.
It’s because of this that we are able to bear fruit. The fruit is how we are able to give ourselves as gifts to other trees – other people. When fruit becomes too big for the branch, it falls. This helps spread seeds so that more trees can grow. But it’s because of the branch that the fruit grows in the first place. And it’s because of the waters by the tree that it’s able to produce fruit.
We have been nourished by God. We have been given life through the waters of baptism. Now, it’s our responsibility to give that life to others. We trees are not here for nothing!