We have a book at home compiled by the Directors of the Japan Bonsai Association called ‘The Masters’ Book of Bonsai’. It tells you everything you need to know to create an award winning bonsai.

Bonsai is the art of growing trees in a small pot so that, although perhaps only a foot tall, they give the appearance of a tree, to quote, ‘found high in the mountains, or a form similar to the lonely windswept pine that clings to a cliff above an isolated seashore’. Bonsai is an attempt to artificially perfect natural tree forms in miniature.

One thing our book makes abundantly clear is that tremendous care and effort is required to produce a truly effective bonsai.

Sometimes I worry about Bonsai Christians. Sometimes that concern is for myself. A Bonsai Christian finds a comfortable spot in a small plot that provides limited nutrients and hardly any opportunity for growth. Spiritually they remain stunted and small. In order to compensate for their obviously limited stature they then put enormous effort into giving the external appearance of significant spiritual growth and success. But it’s a sad lie, and often the only people fooled are themselves.

The mature Christian need not worry about external appearance and form. Having sunk their roots deep into God’s Word and having been watered by the Spirit, ‘they grow like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever they do prospers’ (Psalm 1). Natural beauty is so much more impressive as God gives the growth.