I spent three days this week in Denver at a seminar on Christian discipleship. We drove back to Dulce on Wednesday afternoon, a trip of about 330 miles. The first half was straight south on the interstate, then we headed west for a bit before going south-and-west over the mountains to northwest New Mexico and home.
It was a windy trip. most noticeably so on the last half of the segment south of Denver. Wind speeds were over 30 MPH and gusting. There were many times where the winds were blowing tumbleweed across the highway.
As I drove I would see them move from the west side of the road to the east. Sometimes rolling. Sometimes bouncing. Sometimes getting hung up in a fence, or the bumper of a car.
According to Wikipedia tumbleweed is not one particular plant but a number of plants with a similar habit, which is that they dry out and the part above ground breaks off from its root structure. Once that happens they are completely at the mercy of their environment, usually going wherever the wind blows them.
One of the things discussed at the seminar is that our culture (generic American culture, broadly speaking) is, at best, post-Christian, and how that for an ever-increasing portion of the American population the Christian perspective is one of ever-decreasing relevance and influence. That is if it carried significant relevance and influence in the first place, which is also a matter of debate.
It could be said that from the Christian perspective, where at its most "common denominator" a person believes in Jesus for salvation in the pattern of Romans 10:9, that many people in our culture are as rootless as the tumbleweed, being carried about aimlessly, towards a destiny of eternal oblivion.
One of the things I did take from the seminar is the idea that Christians, the kind who open their Bibles and read from them anticipating to encounter God amidst the pages, the kind who seek God in prayer and who then seek to do His will in the world as they live their lives, may find that there are people in their lives who have a latent hunger to learn from them. There may be people in their lives who understand that there is something going on in the lives of these Christians that isn't going on in their own lives, and that these people will want what the Christians have.
In the seminar we were asked to consider if there were people like this in the places we regularly inhabit. People that might be ready to hear the Good News of Jesus. People that we might begin to invest in and to disciple, i.e., to teach them what it means to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.
The tumbleweed has no root and wanders off into eventual non-existence. In John 15:4-5 Jesus invites us to be joined to him, saying:
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
Jesus invites us to be joined to Him, a Vine whose roots never run dry. A Vine who will eternally sustain those joined people joined to him.
Who is God inviting you to learn from? And who is God inviting you to teach?
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.