top of page

A Not-so-clever Criminal

I confess. As a young boy, I stole from my neighbor. He had a nice garden and I had discovered that, though I despised the greens, I really liked turnip roots. Once while the neighbor was gone, I went into his garden, pulled up some turnips, cut off the roots, and ate them. Being a clever criminal, I stuck the plants back in the ground so nobody would ever know!

Well, of course, I wasn’t as clever as I thought. The plants looked normal for a while, but before long it was obvious something was wrong. Whether the neighbor ever pulled them up to discover the missing roots, I have no idea.

I do have an idea that people are

sometimes tempted to do something similar. The temptation is to “steal” a little time from God by not going to church or by not bothering to pray or read the Bible. It’s easy to think that skipping those things won’t hurt anything. People, and whole cultures, try to survive without roots. They live for a while on morals and values borrowed from past beliefs.

For a while, we may not see much difference. I doubt that you can notice much decline in someone’s life or character after a week out of church – maybe not even after months. But, cutting one’s self off from spiritual nourishment is much like cutting the roots off a turnip and sticking it back in the ground. Eventually, the plant begins to wilt. Unfortunately, by the time the symptoms show up, the plant may already be dead.

Jesus told a story of a farmer who scattered his seed. Some of it landed on “rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root” (Matthew 13:5-6).

Too many hearts are like that shallow soil. Too many people have gotten careless about church only to realize later that, without spiritual roots, they could not survive the hard times. Too many couples allow their spiritual life to wilt only to eventually find that their love life shrivels along with it. Parents neglect church only to discover years later that their grown children never grew any faith. Slowly, but surely, a life without roots leads to death.

Neither plants nor people survive without roots. Let God grow some in your heart.

And, if the statute of limitations hasn’t yet run out, please visit me in jail.


bottom of page