On a family spring walk I took some time to examine the emerging buds on a nearby ash tree. Some of the buds had fully burst through to a fullness of lush, green, leaves. Others were still not breaking through in all their fullness, and yet others were still tightly shut, awaiting their time to open up.
Even though its full potential exists a bud is not performing the fullness of what it is created to do. It must break through its protective cover to open up. Then it must allow the sunshine to shine on to its leaves and bring nourishment to the tree.
And so it is with our lives. We all need a time of protection to grow. Then we can develop enough inner strength to break through, into openness and vulnerability. It’s then that real growth can take place. We can then fulfil our calling and nourish the whole Body of Christ.
There were many buds on the tree that hadn’t broken through into all their fullness, and I was touched with a tinge of sadness for the Church. Many of us live in a state of half-growth, preferring to stay in the little cocoon of the familiar, rather than venture into the unknown openness. We believe the lies of the enemy who is constantly whispering into our ears, “Is it really safe? Will you really be happy? What about all the nice things you are used to?”
Such words can hold us back and prevent us from breaking out and being fruitful. But if we don’t burst into full growth, we’ll never feel fulfilled, because we can never be fulfilled living in a restricted place.
The tree itself wasn’t displaying its full glory. Its continued life and fruitfulness would depend upon each individual bud breaking forth. And we all need to break out fully so that we can nourish the Body, and continue growing in fruitfulness daily – for the glory and praise of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
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