The Bethel Oaks
The oak tree is frequently referred to in the Bible as a symbol of strength and power. Often identified with a place where worship occurred, a patriarch found shade and rest, or a tree under which giants in the faith were buried, the very essence of the oak tree in Scripture implies strength, stability, productivity and longevity.
On Bethel’s campus, there stand many mighty oaks, some more than a century old. In fact, the trees included in photos of groundbreaking ceremonies when the college was founded in 1947 are now large, mature, acorn-bearing trees that beautify the college’s campus.
However, each mighty oak began as an acorn.
Acorns represent perseverance. For an oak tree to begin producing acorns it must be fully mature — at least 20 years old, but the first full crop won’t happen until the tree is about 50. This is why an acorn is often considered a symbol of the patience needed to attain goals over long periods of time. It’s also symbolic of potential — the potential to grow into an oak tree and begin producing acorns of its own one day.
In many ways, the education of each Bethel student begins as an acorn. With proper nurturing, pruning and watchful care, acorns become saplings. Saplings become young oak trees. And, decades later, young oak trees become mighty oaks, both powerful and pleasing to the landscape. In the same way, Bethel students grow as their minds are stretched, their walk with the Lord is expanded, and their social development demonstrates new depth in relationships.
At homecoming events and other college gatherings, it is an awe-filling experience to watch the mighty oaks return to campus. Their lives reflect strength, stability, productivity and longevity. They have become contributors to society, servants to others and leaders in various organizations. They have been tested by countless storms and harsh times, but have remained strong and true to their lives’ calling.
And each began as an acorn.