Monday, June 20, 2011

The Olive Tree

The olive tree was the inspiration for this blog. The image began as I was talking with my older children about what name to put to this idea that has churned in my brain for some time.

We talked about what would encompass all the topics I wanted to write about. We were able to pare down the topics. Faith and family were at the core.

The children and I began to speak about how I could refer to them, as they are a big part of our lives. They giggled about being called sprouts or sprigs. Our six year old son preferred twigs. After a day of giggling and praying over what name God would have us use, we were led to Psalm 128, and our silly terms morphed into olive shoots. After reading through Psalm 128 and studying the horticulture of the olive tree, the boys were quite content to be the olive shoots. (It's not as cute as sprouts perpaps, but certainly more meaningful).

We spent time learning about how the olive tree is supported by strong, solid roots and a thick, sturdy trunk. The branches, if attached to the trunk, grow and bear abundant olive fruit, and at the base of the tree olive shoots appear which eventually grow large and thick
and bear fruit themselves in time. The tree then becomes also a symbol of multi-generational family as year after year (or generation after generation), the tree grows larger and bears both more fruit and more shoots. As the tree matures and more shoots develop into branches, the fruit of the tree becomes more and more abundant, the trunk becomes thicker and stronger.

The boys recalled through our study that this reminded them of one of their memory verses for the year, John 15:5 where Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing".

Upon further study, we found how Hebrews 11:17-18 provided even more depth. It says, "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you".

And there you have it! The image of the Olive Tree sums up beautifully what we're after. The purpose of our intentionality, our training and our growth. These words, found in our subtitle, are used to describe not only family and the training of children, but also the horticulture of the olive tree. Mostly,they describe well our purpose -- to glorify the Lord, the root, the one who sustains us and to bear abundant fruit in His name.

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