The Parable of the Roots
By Rodney Rountree
(from "God is Still Speaking: Parables for Today")
Three young farmers received grape vines from their fathers. They were all eager to raise vines with prize grapes. They carefully tended their vines, providing water and weeding as necessary. The first farmer knew the importance of the vineís root. He was careful not to damage them and to provide them with mulch and fertilizer. His vines grew vigorously and produced much fruit. But the second farmer considered only the branches and stems of the vine. He did not think about its roots which were hurt as he dug around the vine and pulled the weeds. Despite his unwitting carelessness the second farmerís vine also grew and bore fruit. Unfortunately, the third farmer received a vine with no roots. Undaunted she said to herself ďI will pray for Godís help and trust in him.Ē And so she planted the vine and cared for it as best she could. Because of her faith in God, the third farmerís vine also put down strong new roots and produced wonderful fruit. After a time, there was a great storm. The winds blew hard and uprooted many vines. Though the second farmer tried to protect his vine, it was lost. The strong roots of the other farmerís vines anchored them against the storm and they lived and continued to bear fruit.
Lesson: The farmers are like three Christians seeking to grow in faith and spirit. The vines are their faith and the roots are the Church and the Bible. If we nurture our religious roots throughout life, we are better able to weather storms of hardship, trial and doubt. The third farmer was able to overcome the lack of these roots because, unlike the second farmer, she recognized the importance of strong roots and sought out help and guidance from God, who provided her with new roots for her faith. Even those without a Bible, without a Church, without knowledge of Christian history, or theology, can be secure in faith if they seek out Godís voice in their hearts. So, although it is possible to grow in faith and spirit without roots (with God as your anchor), for most of us itís better to start with good roots! In your faith journey, donít forget to nurture and care for your roots. Participate in a Church of your choice and regularly study the Bible.