By Scot Thigpen
The Green Shoot of Life
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1
Some time ago, I took a walk through the woods with my camera. These were not just any woods. They had grown to be a special place for me. These woods were where I raised my two boys at our hunting camp. I had very fond memories of these trees. I could recall many stories and experiences associated with these woods. However, the landowner had made a decision to clear cut the land. His decision impacted others.
On this particular day, it was having a detrimental impact on me to walk through what once was a paradise to me. Now, it looked and felt like a wasteland. Every tree had been cut down to the stump. There was not a tree standing on the entire place. It was barren land now. It hurt way down in the gut and soul. I felt like a part of me had died.
I wondered why in the world I would have brought along a camera to capture this hopeless situation in which I walked. At every turn, there seemed to be nothing but death and destruction. It certainly felt that way. It was a crushing feeling to tell you the truth. As I walked through this hopeless place, I came upon a stump. Lo and behold, there growing from what seemed to be a dead stump, was a green shoot. It meant there was life. There was hope that one day, this paradise could be restored. The stumps were not the end of the story.
The season of “fall” came early this year in our great state. I don’t recall a time there have been so many chainsaws running, cutting down life and lives. Huge oaks seem to be falling all around us. Fond memories of associations with these strong “trees” leave people hurting in the gut and soul. There is hate, anger, bullying, all around. It occurs in sports, politics, workplaces, schools, and churches.
But God! God has been in the restoration business for a long time with his people. The entire nation of Israel was destroyed long ago. They felt as if they were in a hopeless wasteland. Until the shoot came up from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots, a branch will bear fruit. This green shoot of life, hope, redemption, and restoration is named Jesus.
We can be reminded of the good news of the gospel in this scripture. There are lessons to be found here if we open our hearts and minds to them.
First, in times that feel hopeless and we search for answers, Jesus is that answer we are searching for. Secondly, don’t be a chainsaw. Be a vessel of life, not death and destruction. How do you think it would feel to be cut down (perhaps a social media post comes to mind)? And thirdly, we need to open our eyes to the green shoots in the world. It may feel like as far as you can see, there is a barren, dead stump field. Don’t forget to bring along the camera of your heart to make sure you capture these moments. There will be a paradise again. It will be amazing to remember how God provided the way to restore life from death. Lastly, we are called to bear fruit because we are engrafted into that branch.
The hope, power, and promise of this fruit bearing on our lives rest in our abiding to Christ.
Scot Thigpen is president of The Thigpen Group, a Wealth Advisory Firm in Jackson, MS. He is married to the former Kimberly Inkster and they are parents of two sons and attend Christ United Methodist Church. Contact Scot at firstname.lastname@example.org.