Plants seem to be smarter than most people, including many who profess Christianity. Trees, crops, flowers, and grass recognize the source upon which they must depend. They naturally turn toward the light, seeking it consistently and persistently to receive its benefits. They respond to water as their roots reach into the depths of the soil, however resistant it may be, in order to absorb every drop of life-giving water.
The Scriptures encourage those created in the image of God to be fruitful – like a tree planted by the river, extending its roots downward while spreading its leaves to the sun. The Psalmist said to the person who delights and meditates in the Word of God, “You will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers.”1
Jeremiah wrote, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, for he will be like a tree planted by water that extends its root down to a stream and will not fear when heat comes, but its leaves will be green and he will not be anxious in a drought and will not cease to yield fruit.”2
If we are to be God’s vineyard, we must remain under the oversight and care of the true husbandman – the Lord Himself. If you want to see the most briar- and weed-infested field, just look at a cultivated garden that has been abandoned and watch what grows! The same is true of human beings who are not submitted to the ongoing care of the Vinedresser.
If a blade of grass diligently and consistently seeks light and water, why can’t people created in the image of God do the same? All of creation depends on the Creator, with the exception of those created in His image – both sad and tragic!
Scientists indicate that even house plants have some level of intelligence. A plant adjusts to varying conditions by processing information and reacting to it. According to science writer Robert Wright, “It has sensors that absorb information reflecting the state of the environment – where light is coming from, for example – and this information guides the plant’s growth accordingly. And so, too, with every other form of life that pursues goals under varying conditions (which is to say every other form of life).”3
The plant is a sophisticated machine. It persists toward a goal in varying conditions by processing information. Why don’t people?
We are challenged by God through the apostle Paul to be “deeply rooted and grounded in love,” which will enable us to sustain the abundant blessings fruitfulness so often produces. “We are to be firmly rooted and built up in Christ.”
Christians must also develop a desire to walk in the light of God’s truth and love, continually drinking the “water of the Word.” In this, we will experience cleansing and nourishment necessary to be consistent in all seasons, however blessed or challenging they may be. The droughts and dry times should drive our spiritual roots even deeper to absorb every drop of the water of life possible. Proverbs says, “The root of righteous yields fruit.” The fruit will look like Jesus!
Just as plants reach toward the light, we must do the same. May God give us a thirst for His righteousness and the abundance of fruit produced by the Holy Spirit. We can live continually overflowing with the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.4 If plants can be fruitful by consistently seeking light and water, surely we who are created in His image can do as much – and do it for the honor and glory of our great God and Father. “You are the light of the Lord. Now walk as children of the light.”5
1 Psalm 1:2-3 NAS
2 Jeremiah 17:6-8 NAS
3 Robert Wright, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, New York: Vintage Books, 2000, page 312
4 See Galatians 5:22-23
5 Ephesians 5:8 NAS