You are Acorn and Oak


Once upon a time, in a not-so-faraway land, there was a kingdom of acorns, nestled at the foot of a grand old oak tree. Since the citizens of this kingdom were modern, fully Westernized acorns, they went about their business with purposeful energy; and since many were midlife, baby-boomer acorns, they engaged in a lot of self-help courses. There were seminars called “Getting All You Can out of Your Shell.” There were woundedness and recovery groups for acorns who had been bruised in their original fall from the tree. There were spas for oiling and polishing those shells and various acornopathic therapies to enhance longevity and well-being.

One day in the midst of this kingdom there suddenly appeared a knotty little stranger, apparently dropped “out of the blue” by a passing bird. He was capless and dirty, making an immediate negative impression on his fellow acorns. And, crouched beneath the oak tree, he stammered out a wild tale. Pointing upward at the tree, he said, “We… are… that!”

Delusional thinking, obviously, the other acorns concluded, but one of them continued to engage him in conversation: “So tell us, how would we become that tree? “Well,” he said, pointing downward, “It has something to do with going into the ground… and cracking open the shell.” “Insane,” they responded. “Totally morbid! Why, then we wouldn’t be acorns anymore.”

So much of our time is spent trying to become happy acorns, when we are meant for oakness. That is, we are meant to break out of our shells. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,” Jesus says, “it remains a single grain. But if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

We are all nervous about the falling and cracking open of course, but in God’s brilliant design this is prelude to exaltation.

The next time you fall, have the courage not to save yourself (for the thousandth time); stay quiet until you feel that hardened outer shell crack just a bit and the everlasting mystery takes over. God will begin the work of transformation in your heart and you will know, at least for a moment, the astonishing truth of your oaken identity.

Nobody can do this alone. We all need somebody to remind us that cracking open is all right, that it hurts but the end of it all is joy. That, as far as I can tell, is pretty much the main purpose of any faith community–to hold each others’ hands as we’re cracked open by the forces of life, to remind each other to trust that the little life we are losing will give way to a life greater than we could imagine in our little acorny hearts.


*Jacob Needleman, Lost Christianities.

5 Responses to You are Acorn and Oak
  1. Lisa
    July 19, 2018 | 12:06 pm

    Thanks for this David — well written and that analogy is so fitting.

  2. Chip
    July 19, 2018 | 5:07 pm

    It seems to me the operative word is “courage”. It takes courage to be changed from what we think is best for ourselves. I am reminded of the saying, “f you want to give God a laugh, tell him your plans”

  3. Marty Gilbert
    July 19, 2018 | 5:17 pm

    Thank you David for the reminder to open up to the MORE!

  4. frank johnson
    July 19, 2018 | 5:30 pm

    It is a good question to ask yourself, “Why was I born?”

  5. Michael
    July 20, 2018 | 9:37 am

    Thanks, David. The analogy works for nations as it does for persons. I think of this land so concerned now to be the greatest acorn. May we open up, crack a bit and let our true grandeur emerge.

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