During his life in California my father-in-law, Dragomir Dutina, was a volunteer and supporter at Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum. The photo above is my husband, Robert, standing at the roots of the massive Moreton Bay Fig Tree which grows there. If you are ever in Fremont California you might want to stop by there 1251 Peralta Blvd., Fremont, CA.
Regarding the Moreton Bay Fig Tree Wikipedia says Ficus macrophylla, commonly known as the Moreton Bay fig or Australian banyan, is a large evergreen banyan tree of the family Moraceae native to eastern Australia, from the Wide Bay–Burnett region in the north to the Illawarra in New South Wales, as well as Lord Howe Island. Its common name is derived from Moreton Bay in Queensland, Australia. It is best known for its imposing buttress roots.
The Shinn family imported many specimens for their home garden. This one is SO impressive. Wouldn’t you think by the photo that this tree has massive underground roots? So why all the visible big roots? Have you ever visited a gothic cathedral with ‘flying buttresses?”
Again Wikipedia says: Buttress roots are large, wide roots on all sides of a shallowly rooted tree. Typically, they are found in nutrient-poor tropical forest soils that may not be very deep. They prevent the tree from falling over (hence the name buttress) while also gathering more nutrients. Buttresses are tension elements, being larger on the side away from the stress of asymmetrical canopies. The roots may interwind with buttress roots from other trees and create an intricate mesh, which may help support trees surrounding it. They can grow up to 30 feet (9.1 m) tall and spread for 30 metres above the soil then for another 30 metres below. When the roots spread horizontally, they are able to cover a wider area for collecting nutrients. They stay near the upper soil layer because all the main nutrients are found there.
Wait! All that show and massive growth is because of shallow roots? Well, maybe not because it says if 30 metres above the soil perhaps 30 metres below the soil, too. 30 metres, 98 FEET. “They prevent the tree from falling over while also gathering nutrients.”
Have you known Christians who sport large canopies (hear many words about God) but perhaps their root system seems flimsy? Have you noticed buttress roots about them? I knew people who were proud that they could recite all the books of the Bible. I always wondered how they did at actually LIVING one verse. Living any one verse is harder than it seems.
Many of us try to show others our faith with large financial donations, bragging, and flying buttresses made of arguments about faith, strong convictions about God’s judgements and meanings. I think St. Francis had it right when he said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words when necessary.”
I pray along with Paul that ‘out of His glorious riches God may strengthen you with power through the Spirit in your inner being …and you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to GRASP how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, to KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge.’ (Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV)
Out of His riches God can help us to know these things. Give Him your hands so He can give you the power to grasp these things. Once you have hold of it let Him show you how to use this power and knowledge. If you forget and the knowledge slips out of your hands, go back and ask Him to help you again. Oh Father, that we might bring delight to Your heart through these actions. I pray it all for your glory. Amen.