THE STORY OF THE BAMBOO TREE
In the Far East the Asian people plant a tree known as the Chinese Bamboo. During the first four years they water and fertilize the plant despite seeing little or no results. Then during the fifth year, they again water and fertilize the tree - and in five weeks’ time the tree grows ninety feet! The obvious question to ask is: Did the Chinese bamboo tree grow ninety feet in five weeks, or did it grow ninety feet in five years? The answer is: It grew ninety feet in five years. You see, if at any time during those five years the people would have stopped watering and fertilizing the tree, it would have died.
Many times our dreams and plans appear as if they are going nowhere, and we are tempted to give up and quit trying. But on the contrary, we must keep watering and fertilizing those dreams and plans God’s placed inside us. Because we know that if we do not quit, if we show perseverance and endurance, we will also reap a harvest. Charles Spurgeon once said, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
What areas of your life reflect the attitude of that snail? Have you given up on your dreams? Remember: Growth never happens overnight.
As you enter the summer, set new goals and challenge your kids to do the same –take this story, implement it in your youth service, your small groups, or your own walk and remember that outward results may or may not accurately reflect inward realities.
Remember that small acts of kindness, often reap huge dividends: small, practical things you can do in the summer:
• Make a habit of calling specific kids each week
• Take a teenager out for a Coke or to Starbucks regularly
• Show up at a ball game where you know your teenagers will be
• Drop candy, gum, or donuts off at one of your key influencer’s schools [especially when it’s finals or they’re taking a big test]
• Write a letter per week just to encourage one of your faithful, good kids
• Stay extra late after a youth service to spend time “just listening” to teenagers