The Bonsai Tree

Hokusai_A_lacquered_washbasin_and_ewer

Bonsai involves a tree or a shrub grown in a container that is made to look mature while remaining very small in size. Bon is the pot and sai is the plant within, but bonsai is more than its definition. Classical bonsai represents the product of discipline and harmony, creating a small, healthy plant that looks, for all intents and purposes, like a full grown counterpart. It is a long process. There are no shortcuts, and, in the process, the bonsai artist learns much about life, patience, and attitudes while tending to their plant.

The Master Gardener

A bonsai plant is a healthy, miniature replica of a full grown version. They have all the characteristics of a wild-grown plant while fulfilling the artist’s vision of shape and size. God is our gardener, and our world is the little pot in which He crafts us into His image. Genesis 1 and 2 shows us how God has crafted us and this world around us. This is where we can grow and thrive in our Gardener’s great vision.

The ultimate challenge of a bonsai artist is exposing the essence of the tree within the confines of their art. Psalm 38 records David speaking of God’s unique purpose for him and the importance of submitting to God’s craftsmanship, and Romans 8:28 reminds us that all things work together for good in God’s plan. Our Father has an eternal purpose for us, and He guides us to that purpose with the patience and love of a master gardener.

A Healthy Planting

God wants us to be healthy. Romans 8:26 tells us of God’s spirit interceding on our behalves, helping us reach God’s purpose. In bonsai, stresses are applied to the plant to make it grow in particular fashion, but the gardener has to know how much the plant can take. Our stresses in this world shape us as well. We can accept God’s pruning, or we can reject it, and I Corinthians 10:28 tells us that God knows our endurance levels.

Romans 5:3 tells us that trials produce endurance in us. Every challenge we overcome helps us grow closer to God’s image. II Corinthians 4:7 speaks to the great challenges Christians can face, but our faith in God helps us overcome all of these things. These afflictions are preparing us for something greater and more permanent than this world. These things help us transform; they help us become what God will have us be.

A Time-Consuming Process

The growth process for bonsai takes time, and there is no way around that. There are no replacements for time in the effort. When I fully give myself to God, I will grow closer to Him. I will see things as He sees them. I will see myself as He sees me. The longer I allow Him to shape me, the more spiritual I will be. It can be a careful, painstaking process, and there is no substitute for time — time in prayer, time in His word, time dedicating ourselves to His service, and time adjusting our attitudes.

Ephesians 3:14 – 19:

For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.

God wants us to be like Him. He wants to nourish us and help us grow. This takes humility on our part. It takes a willingness to serve, and it takes an adjustment in our attitude.

lesson by Donn Koonce