Palm tree is mentioned in many places in the Holy Bible in various contexts. People who live in tropical and semi-tropical areas are so familiar with the graceful towering beauty of palm tree. For us in India, they are a very commonly found tree. The tree gives a lot of meanings by the characteristics of this stately growing tree.
Seven characteristics of a ‘Palm-tree Christian’
1) Growing upright
Palm tree grows straight up. It has no branches. Always looking up towards heaven the palm tree grows to great height, sometimes even hundred feet!
A true Christian is always looking up towards heaven, trying to know the Will of God and fulfill the Divine Will. Rooted in a land whether fertile or not, it grows up sucking the moisture from the earth. Our life on this earth should be nurtured by our good deeds. Our good deeds give us the moisture to grow. That is why the Psalmist says, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree… (Ps. 92:12).
2) Each and every part useful
Palm tree is known for its usefulness. From top to bottom each and every part of the tree is useful. Only the poor people in eastern countries like India know the value of this tree. It gives the cooling effect in effect by its shade as well as its products. It has many medicinal purposes also. It is profusely used in the Indian medicinal systems Ayurveda and Sidddha. Jaggery (sugar made from Palmyra) produced from it has many medical values. Thousands of people survived on the produces of this tree. Palm leaves are known for their cooling effect and thatched roof were made of these leaves until the concrete buildings came. Even today they used as beams for the roofs. Constructions made of palm trees have been famous for their antiquity.
Ancient history is still alive in the leaves of palm tree. Until printing came into use palm leaves had been the writing materials
A Christian is expected to live for others. He is a witness of love in his heart, words and deeds. As St. Paul write to the Corinthians, the Christian life is a life of sacrifice. “I try to please everyone in everything. I do not seek my own interest, but that of many, this is: that they may be saved.” (1Corinthians 10: 33)
3) A tree not affected by drought
Whatever may the weather condition, palm tree is not affected in any way until you cut it down. The life of the palm however is not affected by any surface injury.
A true Christian life is not baffled by any trial or tribulation in life. He is completely dependent on God and takes everything according to the will of God. He draws his strength of life through his trust in God and always sings, “The Lord is my shepherd, I hall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul. He guides me through the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Psalm23: 1-3)
4) Evergreen tree
The palm tree is perennially green throughout all seasons. Life flows within its being continually and keeps it fresh. Rains may fail. Storms may shake and sway the tree with great force. But nothing happens to the palm tree.
True Christians are considered ‘Palm-tree Christians’ because they never change. They are the same vibrant witnesses of God’s grace throughout the day because Jesus Christ Himself is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever.’ A faithful Christian says, “I know what is to be in want and what is have plenty. I am trained for both: to be hungry or satisfied, to have much or little. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”(Philippians 4:12-13)
5) Inability to graft
It is an interesting factor of a palm tree that it is impossible to graft a palm tree into another palm tree. If it is done it will die. It has this unique character of identity.
A ‘Palm-tree Christian’ cannot be grafted to any another identity. He has only one master. He cannot serve two masters—God and wealth. He is aware of his Master’s words. “No man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24)
6) Emblem of victory
In the famous Sanskrit epic Raghuvamsam, the great poet Kalidasa has described that when the Emperor Raghu’s ‘Digvijaya forces’ entered the boundaries of the Chera kingdom in the south, they were welcomed by the leaves of Palm trees. Palm leaves have a special mention in the ancient Tamil literatures of South India, as a symbol of victory. The palm leaves were sent to the neighboring kings carrying messages of war and peace.
The same thing we find in Bible. Palm branches were carried as tokens of victory. This we see in the triumphant march of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. It is mentioned in the book of Revelations as a token of victory.
7) Palm tree shows the place of water
Palm tree has a very acute sense of finding water resource. Its roots go deep to find out water even in dry places. Even in a desert filled with hot sand, the palm tree survives bearing the scorching heat of the sun.
A Christian finds his livelihood in Christ ‘the living water’. He is the living water that can quench any thirst. Jesus said, “Those who drink of the water that I shall give will never be thirsty” (John 4: 14). A Christian can show the way towards ‘the living water’.
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