Green Thumbs Have I None

Sentinel Peak – El Rancho Cima
Sentinel Peak Patch top left

4 Jesus began to teach beside the lake again. Such a large crowd gathered that he climbed into a boat there on the lake. He sat in the boat while the whole crowd was nearby on the shore. He said many things to them in parables. While teaching them, he said, “Listen to this! A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path; and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it scorched the plants; and they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked the seeds, and they produced nothing. Other seed fell into good soil and bore fruit. Upon growing and increasing, the seed produced in one case a yield of thirty to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of one hundred to one.” He said, “Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!” (Mark 4:1-9, Common English Bible).

There used to be a Boy Scout camp outside of San Marcos Texas, in a region called “The Devil’s Backbone.” The camp was called El Rancho Cima. When I was a kid I was there many times. Some of the patches and pictures (see images above) of the place featured a lone hill with a single tree on top of the hill. The hill is called “Sentinel Peak.” Some years back, the tree died.

Much of their advertising was built around those pictures of the peak with the single tree on top. Now they had a peak with a dead tree on top. They decided to remove the dead tree, that was the easy part. Now they had a completely bald hill and there is nothing unique about a hill with nothing on top. They decided to plant a new tree. That might have been something easy if the peak was nothing more than a big pile of east Texas dirt. But the Texas Hill Country (perhaps like any hill country) in central Texas, there is a lot of rock, Texas native limestone. Though limestone is a relatively soft rock, it isn’t something that’s easy to make a tree sized hole. They did successfully plant the tree but the Scouts don’t own the camp any longer. I have no idea of the tree is still there.

What I do know is, I would never have even attempted to plant a new tree at all. I am far from being a botanist and I have no green thumbs. I do know enough about trying to grow plants in different types of soil to know what Jesus is talking about. It is a great deal easier to get a tree to grow in the black dirt of the Texas Gulf coast or in the red dirt of the East Texas piney woods than it would be to get the same tree (any kind of tree) to grow on the granite of Enchanted Rock. The first is fertile soil that water can easily penetrate. The other, granite is not going to absorb much water and the tree is going to have a much more difficulty finding a place for roots to grow.

The tree probably isn’t going to have a great deal of success in this environment. It may penetrate a crack in the rock but it is looking for soil easier to penetrate. The roots may look spread out on the ground, growing out and trying to find soil. But there just isn’t much in the granite of use to the tree.

We all go through difficult times in life, the hard times that leave us wanting for something more. We need to look for the good dirt. The good dirt is where we will find the nourishment and the water we need to see us through. It isn’t always easy to find good dirt but just as God can get a tree to grow on rock, God can get us through the rocky times in our lives. We might even grow on the rock and be much stronger and more prepared when we make it to fertile soil.

Be Blessed,

Seeking the Genuine,

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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