Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32
I saw a huge tree; it was very old and gnarled. Moss was growing on its trunk and hanging from its branches. I could see the scars and burn marks from various attacks over the years. Some parts of the tree looked dead and dry. Bugs and diseases were attacking different parts of the tree. As I looked away from the old growth of the tree toward the tips of the branches, there were areas of vibrant new growth. These branches were covered with large beautiful fruit.
The roots system is at least as large as the tree above it. These roots collect water and nutrients and send them to the leaves and fruit through the trunk and branches. Inside the tree a river is flowing up from the roots to the ends of the branches. Although the bark is hard and rough and dry, it covers and protects the life of the tree which is that river.
This is a picture of the whole church. Often we look at other portions of the church and are critical because they operate differently. Some of the old and crusty ones we label as unfruitful. Sometimes we look at the moss, the disease, and the burned and dry places and criticize the part of the tree instead of recognizing the attack of the enemy. We should be thankful for the roots, the trunk, the bark, and the main branches that are standing strong and supporting the rest of the tree, protecting the hidden river and being the conduit to get the water and nutrients to the place of growth and fruitfulness.
As an intercessor I haven’t seen a lot of direct fruit, but if I look at my ministry as a part of the whole then I share in the fruit of the ministries I’ve prayed for. Intercession is usually a hidden ministry, (unless you’re at the IHOP on a webstream). Praying for another draws water so to speak from the ground and sends it upward to where it’s needed. Cut off the water supply and the leaves wither and the fruit falls off. When every part does its share growth (Eph. 4:16)and fruitfulness occur.
Is the true Church greatly divided or is it one huge organism with many main branches, millions of leaves and even more individual cells. Coming from one trunk are the two original main branches one Catholic and the other Orthodox. Protestantism is really a branch of Catholicism and all the smaller branches we’ve all been involved in have flourished from there.
I have found much water from the spiritual writers from the Catholic branch from Thomas Merton clear back to the Desert Fathers. The same with Protestant, and Pentecostal branches , as each group draws spiritual drink from the same source. Of course to use another parable there are tares mixed in with the wheat, so it’s easy to find much that is problematic on every branch (except with Reformed Theologians of course), too often many have rejected the whole branch as aberrant instead of seeing both the work of God and the schemes of the enemy.
A while back I went as an intercessor to a Community of Christ retreat for a day. The Community of Christ was also known as the Reformed Latter Day Saints. I assumed going in that aberrant theology was rampant and it would be a strange time. Instead I found a group of genuine Christians hungry for truth, open to hear with my pastor who was ministering had to say. God moved powerfully physically healing several and touching many hearts that day. To my surprise I found a small group of true followers of Christ inside an aberrant group. I think many will be shocked to find that not only is God getting a bride from every tongue, tribe, and nation; he’s also gathering souls out of every denomination, sect, and branch. I can just see a true Christian heresy hunter and a true Christian from the RLDS bumping into each other in heaven. “What are YOU doing here?” “Jinx, you owe me a coke.”