A few years ago I visited King’s Canyon National Park, home of “General Grant.” General Grant is the second-tallest living thing on earth at 267 feet tall, 40 feet in diameter and 107 feet in basal circumference. It has been called the “Nation’s Christmas Tree” as well as the nation’s only living National Shrine because it was dedicated to Americans who died serving our country during time of war. It is hard to describe the sense of awe standing before the massive act of God’s hand. Sequoias are said to be the largest living things on earth. While California Redwoods grow taller, Sequoias grow larger trunks and wider branches. In fact, the bark on a Sequoia can be four feet thick and they can grow up to two feet per year and live hundreds of years.
The scrub oak, on the other hand, makes quite a contrast. It has prickly, dull colored leaves which are hairy on its underside. The trees almost never grow higher than eight feet tall. It is often referred to as a hybrid and is often thought of as much as a shrub as a tree. Scrub oaks often combine together in “groves” to form brambly thickets. The acorns are distinct for their hairy, warty and overlapping scales when they reach maturity.
The interesting thing is that one of the major species of scrub oak grows not far from areas where sequoias and redwoods can be found. They are subject to the same general conditions, have access to the same nutrients, soil, and weather conditions. Obviously, though, they are made of different stuff!
Now, a scrub oak cannot make a decision to be a sequoia. That is pre-determined by God and His laws of nature and propagation. But, we can choose what kind of person we will be. We can be magnanimous, charitable, helpful, reliable, kind, and serving, the kind of Christian who builds and helps the church grow and be better. Such a person makes a huge impact wherever he or she is planted. Or, we can choose to be small-minded, petty, cantankerous, disagreeable, prickly, and contentious. This kind of person is also known by his or her fruit, and the comparison between that fruit and a scrub acorn is compelling! Whatever type of Christian you set out to be, you will be observed by those around you. When you are thus observed, what will you be? A sequoia or scrub oak?