So I think I finally get it – after years of people telling me how amazing it is – I have finally experienced it for myself… gardening is pretty cool! For a while now I have often walked around my parent’s garden, and the next thing, an intense pain invades my foot and when I quickly pull it up I have a thorn (or thorns on a bad day) which need to be carefully extracted. This past Sunday Cammie and I decided to do some gardening as we are staying with my parents for the duration of the lockdown (thanks mom and dad!) My goal was to get rid of these pesky weeds which have been hindering my barefoot walks through parts of the garden – their time had come! So with garden rake in hand I began to gently pull at a visible patch of weeds and they slowly began to give way. I pulled and pulled and finally realized that I now had a bare patch of sand staring back at me.
Unfortunately while pulling up the weeds I also pulled out all the grass in that area as well… my bad! So I thought, “I must persevere! Maybe I just needed to refine my technique a bit!” Unfortunately my second attempt was no better than the first as this time I decided to throw on some gloves and tackle the task by hand with no luck. When I took time to investigate the patch where there was once grass and weeds I noticed the intricate network of roots that kept these weeds alive. To the best of my knowledge they had intertwined themselves with the grass and it would be really difficult, or next to impossible, to extract them without uprooting the grass as well.
Upon pondering on this experience I was reminded of these words by Jesus:
24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The landowner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he told them. “‘So, do you want us to go and pull them up?’ the servants asked him. 29 “‘No,’ he said. ‘When you pull up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but collect the wheat in my barn.’” – Matthew 13:24-30
In Jesus’ kingdom there are good seeds who represent His disciples and weeds who represent false believers and teachers who Satan has sowed amongst these disciples. We see that these false believers and teachers will be present with us to the end of this age and are sometimes quite difficult to tell apart from the true disciples of Jesus. What does this mean for us as disciples then? Are we supposed go out expending all our energy tracking down and ripping out all those who we expect to be weeds? No – according to this parable these people will one day have to answer to God.
Instead of going on a weeding expedition I think what would benefit us all the more is to allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate in us the evidence of His presence in our lives, enjoying the positive influence we can have on the world while being genuine disciples of Jesus: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control – Galatians 5:22.
I don’t know about you but I think the world is in need of a lot more of all these fruits which we have to offer!