Pastor’s Corner: “Roots of Love and Sacrificial Leaves”

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 

Mangroves are amazing trees. They grow on the edge of the coast or river and are constantly sending down new roots into the water. They go deep down into the mud at the bottom of the sea and take hold of the bedrock underneath, and these roots become strong anchors. So strong that when ocean storms rise and waves beat on the shore, the mangroves hold the shoreline firm. In fact, soil builds up in the web of roots and adds to the land. More mangroves spring up, creating a grove that protects, defends, and grows the land. I love the visual of rooted and grounded in love. We must dig deep to put down roots into God’s love for us so that when storms come, we stand strong and resilient like the mangroves, improving the landscape around us rather than toppling. Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, 

Another unique feature of the Mangroves is that they are the only trees that live in saltwater. These bush-like trees make fresh water from saltwater by depositing the salt, which it intakes into what is known as “sacrificial” leaves. These sacrificial leaves are particular leaves on the tree that will absorb the salt, die, and then fall off the tree so the other leaves can live. What a spectacular picture of what Christ has done for us as the sacrificial lamb of God. If we think of the salt as sin and how without the sacrificial leaf, the whole plant dies. So it is with us. Christ took on the sin of the world and became our sacrificial leaf. 1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV) – 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose  stripes you were healed. John 1:29 (NKJV) – The Lamb of God – 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 

The Mangrove is also known as “The Walking Tree” because the roots are observable above the surface and appear to be standing or walking. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him Colossians 2:6 (NKJV). As the roots get thicker they begin to trap sand, sediment, rocks and shells. This builds up thick layers of land and becomes elevated from the surrounding sea bottom. This process allows one mangrove to grow into an island and it allows for existing islands to grow larger. . . . rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving — Colossians 2:7 (NKJV. These robust root systems become a habitat for marine life and provide necessary food and nutrients. Most fish that are caught in the area had spent time in the Mangroves’ protected environmental root system. This as a picture of what the church is supposed to be. Ephesians 2:19-21 (NKJV)Christ Our Cornerstone  – 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 

PICTURE OF THE CHURCH: It is a picture of mangroves lining the coast, with lights hanging in our branches showing the way. We put down roots of love that help to build up the coast and make room for more Christians to recognize God’s love and put down their own roots. We stand strong against the storms of life and light the way to true Love. A Love that sacrificed Himself for us. A Love that surpasses all knowledge. Those roots are filled up with all the fullness of our great God. Through our faith in God, we are given a knowledge of the gigantic love of Christ toward each of us. 

Put down roots. I believe a lot of Christians have a surface knowledge of the love of God. It’s time to dig deep into God’s love. To focus on its depth and breadth and height, the extent of God’s huge love for us. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (ESV). Before we cared about Him at all, God loved us with an everlasting love. When we were actively opposing Him, God gave His only begotten Son to pay the ultimate price for us. 

In His Grace, 

Pastor Hamilton