Drip Lines

Written by Annelise Jolley on July 29, 2014 in General


Among their many virtues, trees teach us something about boundaries. Trees remain where they are rooted. They take in the closest nutrients available. In The Wisdom of Stability, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove explains,

“Look at a tree on the landscape out your window and you will notice that it is shaped something like a geyser, reaching up in the single column of a trunk to spray out in limbs, most of them bending back toward the ground. Follow the downward slope of those bending branches as if they were the fluid spray of the geyser, and you can sketch out a circumference on the ground around the trunk of any tree. That circle is called the “drip line.”

The drip line indicates exactly how far the tree’s roots extend under the dirt. This circumference of earth is all the tree has been given. It needs no more and no less. Sometimes I wish we were more like trees. But don’t we typically want what is outside of our boundary lines? We look over our shoulders and up ahead to see if we’re missing out on better options.

During a recent Friday devotional, our San Diego staff reflected on Psalm 16. Verses 5-6 read,

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance (ESV).

This Psalm promises a beautiful inheritance within our boundary lines. The boundaries God gives us can seem restrictive, but there is freedom in this constraint. We cannot do everything, so we do what we can. We can’t have everything, so we say thank you for what we have and steward it well.

This lesson of drip lines is evident in the lives of Plant With Purpose partnering farmers as they plant trees and restore the soil of their small farms, doing what they can with what they’ve been given. Shalou, a young father from Haiti, partnered with Plant With Purpose just this year. After witnessing the changes that sustainable farming made he said, “I did not expect that I could transform this farm, but when God is with you He can surely perform miracles.” 

Reforesting small, degraded plots of land is a radical act of stewardship. The farmers we partner with are learning to live and even thrive within their drip lines. And as they do they are discovering a beautiful inheritance.


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