AN AMAZING FACT: The tropical banyan fig tree is sometimes known as a strangler fig because of its unusual growth habits. Tiny, sticky seeds are deposited by a bird high in the branches of another tree. The aggressive sprouts grow quickly and begin sending roots down over the trunk of the host tree, seeking out the rich soil below. Once they have found the ground and anchored themselves, the strangler fig roots rapidly thicken. Where the fig roots cross each other they fuse together, creating a lattice around the host tree’s trunk. As the roots grow thicker, they compete with the host tree for sunlight and nutrients from the soil. Soon, they squeeze the trunk of its host, cutting off its flow of sap. Gradually, the host tree starves as the banyan tree monopolizes its sunlight, water, and nutrients. Eventually, the host tree dies and rots away, leaving a hollow center with the fig standing in its place.
Some banyan trees put down “aerial roots”—roots that dangle from the branches until they reach the ground and become a second trunk for the same tree. One particular tree in India, called The Great Banyan, is listed in the 1985 Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest tree. It is more than 250 years old and covers an area of four acres. Its 3,300 aerial roots make it appear more like a forest than a single tree. In the 1920s, its original trunk decayed and was removed, but the additional trunks continue to supply all the nutrients it needs.
At first, the sticky seeds of sin can appear small and harmless. But when tolerated, its tentacles will quickly grow. Soon the Christian’s spiritual life begins to starve, and additional sins begin to take root. Eventually, the Christian is choked to death. In the parable of the sower, Jesus instructed His disciples that the thorns that choked the good seed were the “cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things” so that the word of God sown in the person’s heart becomes unfruitful (Mark 4:19). Are the cares of this world choking the word of God from your heart?
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. Mark 4:7