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13th October: Roots

Cursed is the man... whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness... Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He

The contrast here is between the shrub with shallow roots and the sturdy tree with roots running deep to derive the hidden moisture seeping through the soil from the river. The former is utterly dependent on circumstances, the prevailing environment of the moment, flourishing in times of rain and withering in seasons of drought. The tree on the other hand is independent of external environment, its nurture being provided by hidden sources reached by its deep and spreading roots. It is fruitful and always green, demonstrating best its environmental independence when the drought withers the surrounding vegetation. The hidden difference is the reliance on roots. The tree `sends out its roots by the stream'.

A Christian should be one whose `heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord' (Ps 112:7) and whose `roots are sent out by the stream'. Security and sources of nourishment should render him or her demonstrably less dependent on environment than are others.

The roots are crucial. When the fig tree failed to bear fruit, it was not the branches or the trunk that were attended to. The ground was dug around the roots and fertilizer applied (Lk 13:7-8). Medical practice of every kind abounds with opportunities to demonstrate dependence on or some degree of independence of environment. Have we, like our Lord, `meat to eat that they know not of' (Jn 4:32)?

Make your daily (and preferably morning) quiet time a top priority. This has been the mainstay of the writer's life for half a century. Our Lord instructed us to pray for daily bread, and this refers to nourishment for the spirit as well as for the body. If you only collect your bread weekly on Sundays, be honest and drop the word daily. But it is far better to underline it and act accordingly.

Father, give me this day my daily bread.

Further reading: Ps 1.

DPB

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