So once you encounter a Redwood grove, the tallest trees on earth, you naturally have to ask the questions: How do they grow so tall? Why do they live so long? What sets these trees apart from the multitudes in Shrubberyville? The trees seem eager to share their secrets as you embark on an investigative adventure. Three factors begin to come to light: the characteristics of the trees themselves, the conditions they live in, and the fact that you find these ancient, tall trees in groves.
To ask why a tree grows so tall and lives so long, you might start with the antithesis of that question: what limits a tree’s growth and what kills it? Trees are limited by the amount of water and nutrients they get, the physical restraint of gravity to get the water and nutrients from the roots to the top of the tree, and the strength of the tree to stay standing as it grows taller. Trees also have natural enemies, such as fire, wind, pests and disease. We will look at the character of the tree to overcome these limitations and withstand the things that seek to destroy it.
Redwoods are found nowhere else on earth except in the United States along the coast of the Pacific Northwest (north of San Francisco up into Oregon). It’s curious that Redwoods are only found in one location on the planet while fossil records of these trees can be found around the globe. What is it about the conditions of this location that allow these trees to not just exist but flourish? And beware, they might not be the “perfect” conditions you would hope for, but they are the “right” conditions.
One of my favorite sights is an open field with a lone, beautifully symmetrical, one hundred year old Oak tree in the middle of it. But Redwoods don’t grow this way, they are always referred to in the context of the grove where they are found. Redwoods grow best in community. Without the support the trees provide one another, they’d never reach their potential. We’ll discover how these trees truly practice the core value of community, working together and supporting one another.
In the book The Dream Giver, by Bruce Wilkinson, a guy named “Ordinary” is inspired to leave his home town of “Normal” and follow the dream God has given him. The twin city of Normal is surely Shrubberyville. To be sure, God loves us shrubbery and all, but He knows He created us to be Redwoods. Have you discovered yet the dream that God is stirring in you? We can’t envision the fullness of God’s intentions without stepping out and staying on the journey He has marked out for us. And it is only as God shapes Christ-likeness in us that we will realize our potential, fulfill our dream, and let our life glorify Jesus to the fullest! God does this as He refines our character through the conditions He places us in and the community He surrounds us with. Join me as we explore the lessons from the Redwoods on character in the next series of articles.
Article submitted by: Karissa Corpeny (Director, Corporate Training)