By Lane Corley
Olive trees produce one of the most desired and sought after fruits around the world. The trees can live for thousands of years. The olive and the olive tree is spoke of in the Bible on numerous occasions. Including a few references to family life, like in Psalms 128:3 – “Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.”
What can olive trees teach us about raising children? Four lessons from the Olive tree:
- Olive trees are symbols of peace, happiness and health.
In Genesis 8:11, we see that after the flood, all was pronounced well when the dove brought an olive branch back to Noah. This was a welcomed and joyous sight. The birth and growth of our children bring similar joy to our hearts. New life, new milestones make us grateful for God’s gift to us.
- Olive trees may not bear fruit for 12-15 years and may not be fully mature for 20-50 years.
Just like children, olive trees take some time to develop and mature. For the parent, this is a reminder to be patient. Don’t expect perfection and fruitfulness from a developing tree. They will make mistakes. They will mess up. God’s promise is that He can use even their mess ups and ours for their good in the end.
- Olive trees can survive and thrive, and may even be helped by harsh conditions.
Like olive trees, people don’t always grow when things are easy. We grow when there is a little pressure. Olive trees grow in arid, hot, dry climates and benefit in some places from stiff winds. For the parent and the disciple maker, this is a reminder that for people to grow, learn dependence on God, and bear fruit, we should not shield them from all pressure, but carefully lead them through them. Athletics, academics, first jobs, broken relationships, temptation, mission trips, disappointments are some of the early pressures that can bring growth to our children. If we shield them from all of them, we may shield them from growth.
- When the tree appears dead, it lives on through new shoots that spring from a strong root.
There are olive trees that are believed to be 800 years old that are still producing fruit today. Now they have died 100’s of times, but continue to live through new shoots. This is what our next generations represent. New shoots that carry on our name, our faith, our legacy. The question is: Am I connecting my future generations to a strong root? And am I connected with a strong root? a life source that will multiply good fruit for generations to come? That root is of course Jesus Christ. He promises to flow through us to others. He wants to. Connecting with him, will ensure that.
John 15:5 – ““Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Lane Corley is a Louisiana Baptists church planting strategist and pastor of the Bridge Church in Madisonville. This editorial first appeared on his website.