University Blog

Plant, Grow, and Tend

Posted by Rev. Ben Trammell on

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

-Genesis 2:8

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life  with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.                                   

-Revelation 22:1-2 


I am struck by how often the parables of Jesus that we have been studying this summer take on agrarian themes. Seeds, soil, weeds, wheat, and fatted calves are deployed by Jesus to expand our understanding of God, ourselves, and the movement of God’s kingdom. Scripture from beginning to end has the same tendency. Perhaps this is to be expected from the Word made flesh.

Crops from grapes, wheat, and mustard seeds serve their purpose and reveal truth in the biblical record but when God has something essential in mind there is a tree in the middle of it. Somehow I don’t think this is an accident. From creation to the cross, to the final fulfillment in Revelation a tree stands in the center of God’s purpose and plans Row crops are planted and harvested in the same year, vines are cultivated and within a few years are producing grapes but the timeline with trees producing fruit or nuts is measured in decades not day. God’s timeline is often different than ours.

In the mysterious economy of God the long, slow and deliberate have value that outpace the instant and the easy. I might prefer fast but God is aiming for faithful. I am convinced that church work, discipleship, and lasting growth as the people God made us to be is far more like growing trees than growing wheat. It is a grace that God’s love is patient with us and it is a blessing to join in this sometimes long, hard and slow work.

I believe God is calling University to plant, grow, and tend to a forest of trees. May all those who have been burnt by the scorching rays of despair find shade under these trees. May all those hungry for hope and salvation find the fruit of God’s grace growing abundantly in our midst. 


Pastor Ben


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