While visiting the Everglades, I became fascinated with a special kind of tropical plant called the air plant. The most renowned plant in this category is the pineapple, in the bromeliad family (Not surprising, because most bromeliads look like pineapple tops!) Other well-known types of air plants include the orchid and Spanish moss.
Although many of these fascinating plants have been adapted to our agricultural needs, air plants in the wild grow mostly on the branches of trees. They are far from being parasites, however. They never tap into the tree, nor do they try to strangle it to death like some kinds of ivy. They live peacefully with the trees, only using them for support.
Most air plants have a cup-shaped trap at the base of their leaves. This trap serves to collect rainwater and debris, and it also provides shelter for numerous animals such as frogs, serpents and insects. The air plant gets all of its nutrients from the air and from what finds its way into these traps. It can truly be said that it depends upon the grace of God for survival!
Can you imagine what would happen in our world if all believers in Christ started to live like these air plants? No, I am not suggesting that we graft ourselves onto tree branches and get our food solely from rain, air and debris. I don’t think that would be too healthy to any of us, unless we wanted to shed a few pounds! I am referring to depending completely on God in all we do!
How different the world would be! Instead of the “Stick up your hands and let me see your wallet!” mentality, we might find ourselves secretly slipping much-needed money in the pocket of a beggar. Instead of giving our “to-do lists” priority, we would stop in our tracks and focus on the needs of the person trying to catch our attention. Instead of telling the drunk on the street, “You want money? Go to the Salvation Army! I believe they have some soup for you!”, we would be inviting that person to an elegant restaurant for dinner. Imagine his face!
Oh, sure, we do our civic duties by tossing money into the offering plate at church, and if we have time and remember to do so, we may pray for the needs of one or two people. But God does not desire our money. He does not want any sacrifice that does not come from the heart! Instead He wants you-the whole person that constitutes you! He is madly in love with you and He wants ALL of you! Not just a few crumbs you let drop!
Remember: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come – it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.'” (Ps 40:6-8 NIV)
Do we really know God intimately? Are we living completely in God’s will? Do we even know what His will is and how to depend on His never failing love? It’s simple, really: “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:8 NIV)
Those may be harsh words in our ears, but God wants us to wake up and realize that life is much more than the way we live it most of the time!
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph 5:14 NIV) Only through Christ, by trusting Him whole-heartedly and by depending solely on Him, will we discover real living and start making a difference in other people’s lives!
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)
We will either act like some kinds of ivy and our actions will choke out all hope of the people around us, or we will imitate the air plant’s philosophy and depend solely upon God. Not just in one or two things, but in ALL things! Only then will we become a source of hope to those around us.