I love gardening. You know…flowers and plants that you put into the soil and watch grow? I hate weeds. I don’t necessarily hate weeding, except for the ones that don’t pull out cleanly with a simple and gentle tug. The ones with long roots that break off–they kind of tick me off. And I seem to have a lot of those this year. Apparently the weather this year has been great for weeds, too.
When we bought this house, the weeds didn’t bother me. It was “ground cover” in an otherwise bare lawn. They had taken over the yard, except for the places where all the overgrown bushes and shrubs were growing like they had been given a mega dose of steroids. When allowed to just grow on their own without any guidance, some of the plants become unruly and invasive.
It’s not that the weeds are ugly–some of them are just lovely…until you see their way of life. For example, plantain has lovely little purple flowers. They are so small–they seem so harmless. But they kill anything that is growing next to them–just smother them and crowd out the nutrients and light that other plants need.
Or dandelions. That bright yellow flower that tells if you like butter or not…the mysterious fluffy seed pod…the edible leaves. I was going to keep my dandelion garden for the guinea pigs–Rosalina and Fifi. BUT the dandelions just won’t stay in their place. I tried to be kind–I gave them their space, but they are so greedy and selfish and won’t share.
Then there’s the crabgrass. I don’t even feel a little sad for ripping it out. Not even a little bit. No lovely flowers, no mysterious seed pods…just a hoarder of everything that my “grass” needs. I attack it with a vengeance.
There are so many lessons to be learned from gardening. I spend so much more time dealing with the weeds than I actually do the flowers and plants that are intentionally in my garden. It’s amazing how easily you can uproot a plant that you don’t intend to uproot. How easily smothered your flowers can be.
We need that nourishment and light that we get from drinking and feeding on the Word. When our hearts are well-watered by our Savior’s love and we allow the pruning and dead-heading of our lives by the Father who loves us so very much. When we see the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, convicting us of sin and illumining the truth. The weeds of sin cannot easily overtake our fruit of the Spirit when we have properly prepared the soil and tended to that garden with care.
If I only weeded my garden on a monthly basis, I would not have a garden at all. Weeding the garden is a daily practice for me–I get out there early in the day and take on an area. I also make sure that my garden gets a good drink of water early in the day so that the heat of the sun at midday won’t burn and wither the flowers.
In this same way, my heart needs frequent attention. The soil needs to be prepared to accept the plants that the Lord wants to grow in my life. I need to be watered and fed each morning so that I do not have to rely on myself for the attacks of the day. That necessary weeding out of sin that so easily creeps into my life must be addressed before it can sink its roots down deep into my heart. I want my heart to be plowed and prepared to be tender–to be fruitful and yield an abundance of good things that the Lord can use for His glory.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
1-9 It was on the same day that Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the lake-side. Such great crowds collected round him that he went aboard a small boat and sat down while all the people stood on the beach. He told them a great deal in parables, and began: “There was once a man who went out to sow. In his sowing some of the seeds fell by the road-side and the birds swooped down and gobbled them up. Some fell on stony patches where they had very little soil. They sprang up quickly in the shallow soil, but when the sun came up they were scorched by the heat and withered away because they had no roots. Some seeds fell among thorn-bushes and the thorns grew up and choked the life out of them. But some fell on good soil and produced a crop—some a hundred times what had been sown, some sixty and some thirty times. The man who has ears should use them!”