True Growth

Ten lime trees in a row. I see them every day as I wait to catch my train to the city center. Their trunks are tall and perfectly straight, but their angular branches bear immediately quite sharply downward, not upward, as one would expect. For a while they puzzled me. Individual lime trees do not naturally possess two such different growth patterns. Then one winter day I noticed the graft mark at the top of each trunk and surmised that the branches must come from a species of lime tree possessing a very different type of growth.

The straight upward growth of the trunk therefore seemed to be offset by the downward zigzag growth of the branches. Doubtless this was the effect intended, but one could not help but be reminded of what seems to be going on in this world of ours. Humanity's better nature wants to bloom and blossom and spread itself upward in harmony with the promise that shines in the natural beauty and order all about us. But something seems to bear us downward, until, within our hearts, we cry out for some way to resolve the problem—to see more clearly the way we should be going and make some distance along it.

Paul, as he often does, puts it in a nutshell: "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Just before, he has given us the solution: "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." Gal. 5:17, 16;

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Bureaucracy: Curse or Servant?
March 24, 1973

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