A Well-Tended Garden
The garden was so pretty when they put it in, and I admired it each time I walked past.
There were daylilies, black-eyed sues, hostas and even a towering butterfly bush.
Going all out, the gardeners had included some whimsical ornaments amongst the plants that caught my eye and added to the overall tone of the place.
It was a small lot, but it was a bright spot that brought joy to passersby like me.
A few years have come and gone since the garden first went in and today as I passed it, I was somewhat disappointed at what I saw. Jagged weeds were attempting a comeback, strange, ugly vines were towering over the perennials and a few bold toadstools were having their say in the whole matter.
No one is tending the garden anymore...
I know how it goes. Life gets busy and our focus changes doesn’t it? And sometimes, no matter how hard we work at it, the tenacious weeds sometimes get their way.
I’ve got a raspberry patch that has become somewhat of a battleground for me. Last year the weeds claimed it, and I gave up. This year I started out strong. I filled my wheelbarrow with countless loads of leaves from last fall and dropped them between my berry plants.
The leaves did help with some of the rows, but I ran out around the same time that the dandelions began to emerge. While half my patch looks somewhat welcoming; the rest is a jungle waiting to be conquered.
Jesus used a planting analogy when he taught about Christian faith. Speaking in parables, he talked about a farmer who sowed his seeds in different types of soil. Some of the seed landed on the path and got eaten by the hungry birds. Others ended up among the rocks, and their shallow-rooted plants got scorched by the sun. Still other seeds landed in the thorns and were choked by them as they grew. Finally, some of the seed landed in good soil and produced bountiful crops.
If you are walking with the Lord today, I’m going to wager that your seed fell among some good, rich soil. But let’s take the analogy a step further. What also likes to grow in good, rich soil? Weeds right?
Just think about the pretty garden I talked about earlier, or my jungle of a raspberry patch. When weeds grow, they can take the nutrients and moisture out of the soil, hog up the sunlight and cause the good plants to wither.
In our lives, weeds can be a whole bunch of things that threaten to choke out the good in us. They can be big and ugly like alcohol, drugs and maybe pornography, or they can be the more subtle type that may not seem so bad like gossip, lying and even racing through life with a too-busy schedule.
Whatever the case, when weeds spring up, it’s up to us to get out the weed killer isn’t it?
In her book, “Like a Garden,” Sara Covin Juengst talks about how weeds can infest the garden of our souls: “Our personal weeds may take any number of forms. Our crabgrass may be the need we have to ‘meddle,’ to hand out advice, to organize everybody around us.
"Our honeysuckle may be our need to cling to someone else for support and sense of meaning; we can’t disentangle from our children or spouses or even friends, so that their own growth is stunted as well as ours.
"Darnel may also grow in our gardens: our desire to persuade others we are better than we actually are. Or we may be plagued with temptations, which, like dock and dandelion, put down thick, deep-probing roots and come back year after year to infest our gardens.”
I had a weed once that would never quit. If there was even a little piece of it left in the garden, it grew from that piece. I called it the “evil weed,” and I worked like mad to keep it out of my vegetable garden. Juengst warns from gardening lore: “Remember: never trust weeds.”
Is it time to do a little weeding?
Proverbs 24:30-31 (New Living Translation)
I walked by the field of a lazy person,
the vineyard of one with no common sense.
I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
It was covered with weeds,
and its walls were broken down.
Leviticus 26:3-5 (New International Version) If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.
Isaiah 58:11 (Amplified Bible) And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.
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