Shallow Roots

Shallow Roots - 1As a writer, I cannot choose when inspiration comes to me.  I do not get to decide when a great nugget of truth will stimulate the creative flow.  But, sitting in Church this last Sunday, inspiration came in like a flood.  And, I guess our pastors would be fairly pleased to know that I was “inspired” (or at least I was paying attention) during one of their sermons.

But, I am afraid the inspiration last Sunday took me a little different direction than perhaps they were intending.  Although, as I reflect on it now, maybe not so much . . .

“And other seed fell on the rocky ground, where it did not have much soil,
and it sprang up at once because it did not have any depth of soil.”

Matthew 13:5

For those of you who you who have spent much time at all in church, you will recognize the verse above as coming from the Gospel of Mathew and is a part of the Parable of the Sower and the Seeds.  For purposes of his message last Sunday, one of our pastors chose to emphasize the parable from the perspective of the soil.  I won’t go through his message in detail here.  Instead, if you are interested in the message, you can click on this link and check it out for yourself.

Shallow Roots - 2

Instead, I want to take one of his points and apply it directly to leadership development.  Are you ready for the inspiration?  Here it is:

The sun that can be so devastating to a plant with shallow roots is the same sun that proves to be a life giving source to a plant with deep roots.

In other words, some of the things (a bright and steady sun) that can kill a young seedling that is not properly planted and cultivated have the ability to bring growth and abundance to the seedling that has been properly planted and cultivated.  A plant that has had a chance to get its roots deep into the soil can reach down and draw moisture from the earth and that moisture will travel up from deep down and bring nourishment tot he stalk, stem, and leaves so that they will withstand the potentially scorching rays.  On the other hand, the seedling that is only shallowly rooted and whose roots have encountered solid rock just beneath the surface cannot draw the moisture from below to survive the sun’s blaze.

What is the difference in those two examples?  Is it the farmer?  Is it the seed?  It is the soil.

Shallow Roots - 3Young leaders need to be properly planted and cultivated in order to grow into strong,  vital, and healthy leaders.  Without the proper feeding, care, and protection they can be overwhelmed by the environment or the conditions around them.  The bright sun that is adversity or challenge will wither the young leader if he or she does not have a sufficient root system.  Likewise, the bright sun of adversity and challenge will strengthen the mature leader and cause even greater growth as the leader stretches and basks in the life giving rays.

So what is the leadership point here?

The point is that you and I need to have deep roots that sink deep into fertile ground of life and experience.  Without those deep roots we will wither and die toiling under the same elements that are causing other leaders to succeed and thrive.

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Photo credit: madison.murphy / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: CIMMYT / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

3 Replies to “Shallow Roots”

  1. Kevin,
    very interesting point here. There are two questions that come to mind here. 1) Is it possible for a young leader to recognize this difference in the foundation of their career?
    2) What are some of the early signs in young leaders that we as seasoned leaders should be looking for?

    1. Answer 1: I don’t think young leaders recognize the foundational issues as well as the more seasoned leaders do. And that is why we need to be pouring our lives and experiences into these young leaders.
      Answer 2: Some early signs to look out for are for hasty decisions made without a consideration of the long term implications. Also, decisions made in a vacuum without the benefit of some wise counsel are some obvious signs.

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