Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

Friday, August 20, 2010

“Beyond the Weeds”

Anyone who knows me for very long will soon figure out that I do NOT like to garden. Don’t get me wrong….I LOVE beautiful flowers and flowerbeds! I just don’t like the work. Most of all…the weeding. I hadn’t done the weeding for quite some time. Actually, picture a jungle and you pretty much know what my flowerbed looked like. With hesitation, I gathered my gloves, my wheelbarrow and trimmers and set out for what was going to be an incredibly daunting task. I was frustrated to see how I had let the garden go, causing myself a lot more work than if I would have kept up with it in the first place.

As I labored for several hours, I began to notice the difference. The garden began to look neat and kept again. I started to feel pretty good about my progress. Working through a particular portion of the “jungle”, I caught a glimpse of the most beautiful shade of yellow. This made me work a bit faster, for I eagerly wanted to see what was hiding beyond the weeds. I finally was able to clear enough away that I could see it! Hidden among the jungle of weeds was the most beautiful butterfly bush I had ever seen, bearing the most lovely yellow flowers!

It all became clear to me just then! The year before, I had replanted a dying butterfly bush in this very spot…just hoping that it would survive. I had totally forgotten about the small bush that was now just peeking out beyond the weeds and was so amazed that they had not totally choked away it’s life.

In Matthew chapter 13, we see Jesus speaking in parables. Verses 24-30 specifically are teaching on the Parable of the Weeds. A landowner had sown good seed in his field, but the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. The wheat sprouted, but so did the weeds. The man’s servants came to him and questioned whether good seed had ever been sown. They asked him where the weeds came from and if he desired for them to pull them up. The master answered that it was the enemy who was responsible and if they pull the weeds they will also root up the wheat. At the time of harvest, the harvesters were to first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles in order to be burned. Then, the wheat could be harvested and brought into the barn.

Oh, how it is with our spiritual garden! At the moment we accept Christ, He plants the good seed in our hearts. Right at first we are excited about knowing Him. We water the seed by reading His word and praying. We cultivate the soil by going to church and getting involved in ministry and the plant begins to take root and grow in our hearts! Then, Satan begins to sow poisonous seed in us just as the enemy in Matthew 13. The weeds in this passage happen to be darnel, a poisonous weed organically related to wheat. It was difficult to distinguish between the weed and the wheat in it’s early stages. As it is with us today, the enemy sows the cares of the world in our hearts and it’s so subtle at first that we sometimes can't tell the difference between good seed and bad and are easily deceived.

The weeds begin to crowd out the beautiful work that the Lord first planted within us. Sometimes the weeds grow for a very long time. They take root and are not easily removed. But as we begin to strip away the very things that keep us from Him, we catch a glimpse of the beautiful treasure that is hidden beyond them. Once the “weeds” have been removed, the work that Christ first began has room to grow and blossom into something beautiful for all to see… just like the butterfly bush!

I’ve been there…how about you? I’ve allowed Satan to come and sow poisonous seeds in my heart. Seeds like the desire for material things, the love of money and recognition, the pursuit of the American dream, and fear and doubt about the future…most recently, fear about my dad’s future with this thing called cancer. God taught me a most valuable lesson in the garden that day. Just as I procrastinated in weeding my garden, I have allowed the weeds to take root in my spiritual life. They have crowded out God and have taken over. It took me hours and a lot of sweat to clean my garden up. In the same way, I need to work even harder to strip away the weeds in my own life so that the work God is doing in me can grow and blossom without hindrance!

There’s a seed called cancer that lingers among us. Satan wishes to sow the seed as a weed of discouragement, defeat and destruction. But God wishes to take that same seed and plant it in the fertile soil of His mercy and His grace. As He lovingly waters it with His peace and comfort, it will grow into something beautiful!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this, its a topic i needed reminded of. I have to pray daily for the removal of weeds from my heart, as i deal with those that are in my life. You put this into such amazing words and i thank you ..