Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Lesson From My Garden

Matthew 13:28-30- And he said to them, "An enemy has done this!" And the slaves said to him, "Do you want us, then, to go and gather them (the tares-weeds) up?" But he said, "No, lest while you are gathering up up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will day to the reapers, 'First, gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."

As I was pulling up weeds the other day in our front flower bed, I couldn't help but think about this particular verse in Matthew 13. It is so easy to let the weeds grow up in our flower beds. In fact, weeds grow faster than the "real" plants we are actually trying to grow. They require no attention, no pruning, no fertilizer, no love of any kind and they grow and spread beyond belief. Their roots entangle the roots of the plants that we work so hard to grow, and when we let them grow alongside of our plants, we end up hurting our precious plants when we pull up the weeds. We end up pulling up some of the roots belonging to our plants because the root systems become entwined.

I thought of several different things concerning this passage. The first is, of course, what this passage is all about. Christians and non-Christians exist side by side, and, unfortunately, our roots (beliefs, convictions, world views) become so entangled that many times it is hard to tell the two groups apart. At some point in time, God will separate the two in His final judgement. However, as was mentioned in the verses above, He will uproot both in order to separate them. Root systems are the life support of the plant, and the roots of weeds and plants are easier to separate when they can be seen.

My next thought was of children, namely my own child. Children are like little plants. They need to be watered and fed (talking basic needs here), tilled and developed (educated), nurtured and cared for (loved), fertilized (taught Biblical truths), and pruned (corrected) for them to grow properly. It is also important that we keep the areas that they are growing in "weeded". What are the weeds that grow up around our children? Television shows that teach children to disrespect and dishonor their authorities whether they be parents or teachers. Music and books that do not edify their spirits and bring in ideas and concepts that are the opposite of what God's Word teaches. Friends that have not been brought up with the same values and standards that we want instilled in our children.

I can already hear the argument, "But aren't our children supposed to be an influence to others?" My question to that is, "Are we really willing to put our children at risk so they could possibly be an influence to others?" Yes, we would look to an oak or maple tree to give us shade and protect us from the sun, but would we look for the same thing from a sapling? Of course not. The younger of the two has not developed enough for that. How many times do we as adults have difficulties standing up for what is right and not succumbing to the pressures of our peers, and yet we expect our children to stand firm in the face of the same situations? That would be like looking for shade and protection from a sapling. Also, physics shows us that it is easier to pull an object down than it is to pull that same object up. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals."

As parents we need to "weed" the gardens that our children are growing in on a daily basis. As I have gone outside and weeded my garden, I have found that it is easier for me to pull up the weeds as they come up and are still small, than it was when they had established their roots and had entangled the roots of my plants. I actually pulled up and broke some of my plants' roots which I am sure was not good for them (I have noticed some brown spots recently). As a teacher, I heard parents say so many times that they wanted to remove something from their children's lives that they could see was becoming a problem, but because their children had become so attached, they knew it was going to be a difficult process. How much easier it would have been if they had just removed the "weed" when they first noticed it sprouting. But so many times we think, "It is just a little weed. How much damage can it really do?" only to find out later down the road that the "weeds" have overgrown our children and are smothering their spiritual growth.

I have become thankful for the lesson God has taught me through the weeds from my garden. It is a lesson that I will be remembering for a very long time. It has become a daily reminder to me that I not only have to weed my outdoor garden but also the "garden" that we are "growing" our daughter in. And that is the most important garden of all.


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