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Acorn to Oak Tree: Rejoicing in Small Beginnings

Updated on November 21, 2012

He knew that I have moved and I live in a new house on a bare lot. This elderly gentleman knew that I long for trees and gardens and plants and beauty. So, when I arrived at his house he was ready and eagerly asked if I was still looking for trees. The answer, of course, is yes. I am definitely looking for trees. He bustled into a back room and I expected that he would return with a flyer advertising trees for sale or something like that. I did not expect him to come out with his hands cupped and overflowing with acorns, hollering at his wife to get me a container. He told me how he had been at a park and had seen these acorns and since he knew I wanted trees, he gathered these for me and kept them until I would return for another visit.

He's still hollering at his wife for a container and I accept the acorns and stuff them in my pockets and tell him that I don't need a container. My pockets (though a little uncomfortable) will be fine.

I thank him and I feel a little amused about the whole thing. He asked me if I want trees. I wasn't expecting acorns. How long does it take before an acorn produces a sapling of any significant size? Sure, I have a pocket load of potential, but it will take a hundred years before these acorns are mighty oak trees.

I spend the rest of my visit with a pocket full of oak trees and I feel a little deflated. I really want trees in my yard. His words sounded so promising - like he might really have some trees for me. If any of these acorns actually produce a sprout they won't be giving us any shade until I have grandkids!

However, I've been thinking about his enthusiasm. This wonderful gentleman understands something that I've never been very good at. He understands that everything has a beginning and beginnings are often very small.

I'm the sort of person that wants the end result right away. The biggest bang for my buck. Small beginnings annoy me. It is so easy to lose interest if it takes too long to show any results.

This is not a great character trait. The reality is, every person who ever accomplished anything had to begin at the beginning and work at it and patiently go through the process.

There are so many people that I admire. I find their knowledge of the Bible astounding. Their ability to teach and speak is inspiring and I find myself wishing that I possessed the same knowledge and ability. What I don't want to do is spend all the hours studying and reading and memorizing. I wish that God would just miraculously zap me with abilities. I've even convinced myself that maybe it is actually godly to believe that this is possible. After all, the power of the Holy Spirit dwells in me, shouldn't I believe that God could give me miraculous talent on the piano, or the ability to be a powerful evangelist or Bible teacher?

God is absolutely able to do anything that He chooses with anyone. He has at times done miraculous things in the lives of people. However, the main thing I see when I type out my desire for the 'miraculous zap' is simply laziness. I'm not willing to begin at the beginning. Not willing to sacrifice my time in pursuit of a goal. Not willing to put in the effort and work that is required.

It's like walking around with a pocketful of acorns and feeling mighty sorry for myself that he didn't give me any trees.

He gave me seeds.

If I want trees I could germinate the acorns, plant them and tend them and eventually they will become trees. If I want some oak trees on my property, I have the option of doing the research, the work and the waiting and maybe someday I will have the pleasure of looking out my window at an oak tree or two or three or more.

As I try to hold onto all the acorns in my hands, I begin to see each one as a potential tree. I think about the desires in my heart. The things I would like to do and become. It's all potential, these dreams. As I pray and ask God for guidance and direction He can take the potential and He can cause it to sprout, to be planted and tended and over time He can grow it into what He desires. It is a miracle. It just usually takes longer than what I would like - but it is still a miracle.

May we not be discouraged by small beginnings. Rejoice and be glad. The mightiest oak tree was once an acorn, possibly even carried around in someone's pocket. Someone dreaming of a tree.


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