Bonsai Christians

As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice

“Bonsai Christians”


            “What in the world do you mean by Bonsai Christians,” you may be asking yourself.  Before I explain, I think it is important to examine what Bonsai really means.  A Bonsai tree is defined as, “an ornamental tree or shrub grown in a pot and artificially prevented from reaching its normal size.  Another definition talks not about the tree so much, but the manner in which it is achieved: “the art of growing ornamental, artificially dwarfed trees or shrubs.”  This latter definition then means the art or method of creating a tree or shrub that is smaller than what it is normally, or genetically dispositioned to be.  So exactly how is this done.

            There are three facets to creating in the art of Bonsai.  The elements are pot size, crown pruning, and root pruning.  Each of these elements is necessary in this process.  Skip one and the whole process will fail.

            What does the pot size have to do with this?  You plant this tree in a pot that is small.  This restricts the growth of the roots in an outward fashion, thereby limiting the nourishment the tree receives from the soil.  The last element, root pruning, goes along with this first one.  For many of you who plant flowers or shrubs in pots, you know a plant can get “root bound,” or the root system grows so big in the pot, it seems to choke out or smother the plant from the roots up.  Root pruning in Bonsai eliminates this from happening.  The final facet is crown pruning.  This is the only part of the entire process that people can see the results.  It is a careful process by which the tree or shrub is carefully and meticulously pruned.  Take too much off, and the tree may die.  Take too little off, and the desired results are not reached.  Take the right amount off, have the right sized container, and direct the root growth in the area you desire, and you will have a beautiful piece of living art.

            So, now back to the title.  You might have already been thinking how this applies to Christians.  Let’s see if we can make the connection.  God puts us in places that nourishes our soul.  However, as we know, too much of a good thing is not good.  As an example, if we grow in a leadership position in the church but loose sight on who put us there, we can think our efforts are the reason we have the position.  We begin to think self, self, self, and we begin to overgrow our ego.  God also wants our roots to be nourished by the right kind of “plant food.”  There are several poisonous people who call themselves Christians, even in leadership, who can damage our roots or make them to grow in places God does not want.  We need to be nourished through His Holy Word.  Lastly, God prunes our outer image, our behaviors in just the right way; not too much and not too little.

            Our goal today should be to look more like Jesus than we did yesterday, and even more like Jesus tomorrow than we do today.  We can only do this when we submit to the One who helps us to grow just the way He wants us to, and we then become beautiful pieces of living art crafted by His own hands!

  Mountainside Church · 301 Elcano Drive
Hot Springs Village · AR 71909

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