The Banyan and the Palm Tree

by Bill Bright

"It takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others-a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough" (Gal. 5:9, NLT).

Previously I shared about the late Henrietta Mears whose life and ministry had such a profound effect upon Vonette and me in the 1940s and 1950s.

Dr. Mears became one of the most influential Christian educators of the 20th century, and her godly influence no doubt helped to prepare me for the launching of Campus Crusade for Christ International in 1951.

This great teacher once told this story:

A little banyan seed once said to a lofty palm tree: "I am so tired of being tossed hither and thither by the wind. Let me find shelter awhile among your great leaves."

"Oh, yes," said the palm tree. "Come, and welcome. Stay as long as you wish."

So the banyan seed nestled down among the leaves of the palm tree, which very soon quite forgot the presence of the little stranger.

But the tiny seed was not idle. It sent out little roots and fibers, which crept round the mighty trunk and under the bark of the palm tree itself until at last the tree in alarm cried out, "What is this?"

The banyan replied, "It is only the little seed you allowed to rest among your leaves."

"But now you must leave me," said the palm tree. "You are growing too large and strong to stay. You sap my strength."

"I cannot leave you now," replied the banyan, "for we have grown together. I should kill you if I tore myself away."

The palm tree rustled its leaves and tried to throw off the banyan, but it could not, and gradually the palm leaves withered, and the great trunk shriveled until at last only the banyan tree could be found.

So it is with little sins that come creeping into the life of a person. They at last smother all the good which is in the heart and destroy its true growth.

In the Bible, leaven, or yeast, is used to represent sin. Paul writes: "Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast..." (1 Cor. 5:6-7 NIV).

If the palm tree had been wise, it would have never allowed the little banyan tree a home, and by the time the damage was discovered the palm tree was consumed. Likewise, may we never allow the yeast of sin a home in our hearts, or it too can grow and eventually consume us.

Be alert before it is too late.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad