Summary: God grows good things. We have choices to make, what we will sow and what we will reap.
Devotion for The Feast – May 27, 2014 – Matthew 13:24-43
Put up your hand if you’ve ever done much gardening.
I used to think that the best way to garden is to put on a wide brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig. Not so much anymore.
Recently my wife Barbara and I have been doing a lot of gardening. Last year I got rid of about a dozen weed trees that stood at the rear of our backyard and were gradually taking over the whole area.
Another few years and over half the yard would have been weeds. So with a lot of sweat and toil and mercifully no loss of limbs, I gutted the area. Got rid of every last weed tree, or so I thought. The weeds are doing everything they can to fight back. They’re tenacious little so-and-sos.
This year we’re creating a garden, and I have to say I’m enjoying it, a few hours at a time. One thing you always deal with when you’re gardening is weeds. What’s the problem with weeds in a garden?
Weeds spread really quickly and take up the space and nutrients in the earth. They can crowd out good plants and flowers and vegetables and make it tough to grow anything you want to grow,
I’ve discovered that when weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. Pause.
Problem is, it’s hard to tell the difference between a weed and a real plant.
And sometimes, oftentimes, the good plants get so mixed up with the weeds that if you try to get rid of the weeds, you risk losing a good portion of the plant you want to keep. It’s a constant problem for a gardener.
Jesus speaks of this in the parable that _______read. He’s describing the realm of God’s influence and control, the Kingdom of Heaven. He says a reality that God’s Kingdom faces is that there are also weeds, blended in with the main harvest, the wheat. The good mixed with the bad. The positive and the negative.
And in our lives there are positives and there are negatives. There are good things that take root in us and cause us to grow and to thrive and to have hope and to feel like we’re really making progress in life.
Saying ‘yes’ to God and ‘yes’ to the gospel is one of those things.
Serving others, serving God, reading healthy things, eating in a healthy way, taking care of our bodies, nurturing a positive attitude. These are good things.
The Bible says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.
When we’re careful to plant and cultivate good thoughts and faithful attitudes and actions, that speaks incredibly well of our future. It establishes a path that God blesses and that’s full of potential.
But there are also things that can take root in us and do the opposite. There are ‘weeds’ that we can allow into our lives - it could be bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, judgmentalism. Anything, really, that controls us - it could be drugs, it could be unhealthy habits...you name it. A negative attitude is toxic to us and to everyone around us.
But it seems to me that we have a choice. We have a choice about what seed we sow into our lives, what we plant and what we nurture and allow to blossom in our hearts and souls.
An old Cherokee told his grandson: "My son, there's a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It's anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego.
The other is Good. It's joy, peace, love, faith, hope, humility, kindness and truth." The boy thought about it and asked: "Grandfather, which wolf wins?". The old man quietly replied: "The one you feed."
The one you feed, the seed you plant. The plant you water. That is always what grows, what takes over.
What are you planting in your life?
To the extent that we have control, and we do have control, may we each choose to sow only good seed. To water and allow to grow in us only those things which are becoming of a person of hope, of light, faith.
And may we turn to the living God, revealed to us perfectly in Jesus Christ, surrendering the garden of our lives to Him, so that He can make our lives fruitful and joyful. He is the best one to deal with weeds in whatever form they take.