The General Sherman Tree stands 275 feet high. Its trunk has a circumference of over 100 feet. At its base, the tree has a diameter of 36 feet. It weighs over 2,100 tons, the equivalent of 50 blue whales. If placed in the middle of an interstate highway, it would totally block both lanes of traffic and hang out over the shoulders.
This tree, the king of all Giant Sequoias is estimated to have sprung forth as a sapling 2,500 years ago. Think about that . . . this tree began its long life over a century before Alexander the Great was marched his armies across the steppes of Asia. It was already 400 years old when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It's as old as the oldest sections of the Great Wall. It has weathered the lifetimes of 120+ generations of humans. It has "seen" Halley's Comet come and go 33 times.
The Giant Sequoias grow so large and old because of their great resilience. These trees are basically impervious to disease, rot, and ravages of fire. It's thick skin (the bark is 3 feet thick in places) and wide spread (but shallow) root system make it largely resistant to the stresses that bring lesser trees down.
There's another important key to its growth and longevity. The Giant Sequoias ONLY grow in a certain, specific and limited environment. They can only be found growing on the west facing slopes of the Sierra Nevadas between an elevation of 5,000-7,000 feet above sea level.
And, herein, I find a parallel.
In Matthew 6.25 & 33, Jesus tells us, "Don't worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? . . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL these things will be provided for you."
In a way similar to the Giant Sequoias thriving only in a certain place, true prosperity and peace in our lives can only be found in Christ and the good things God gives to his children. So, take care in where you put your roots and from where and in what you draw your sustenance. May we ever grow tall and strong in the care of our God.
(The top photo was taken by Nancy Foster on 8-22-2011 at Sequoia National Park. The bottom photo is borrowed from Wikipedia.)