Summary: What is a dandelion? To some it is a flower, to some it is a vegetable, and to some it is a weed. It is hard for us to know the difference. If we uproot the dandelion we may be causing damage. If we uproot what we think are weeds in our churches and c
Last Sunday as we were looking at the Parable of the Sower I told you about moving in to a new parsonage at Lovelady and with that new parsonage came a new yard. One of the men in the congregation, the chair of the board, thought that the lawn needed to have grass so he bought Bermuda grass seed and broadcast spread it over the yard. As a result much of it went on the lawn where it was supposed to go, but some of it went in the flowerbeds. Then I asked the congregation a question. For those of you who weren’t here last week, I ask you the same question. Do you know what grass is called when it is in a flowerbed? That is correct, it’s a weed. And, I spent the next two years pulling those weeds out of the flowerbeds at the parsonage at Lovelady.
This morning’s lesson is one of my favorites of Jesus’ parables, the Parable of the Weeds. I am not a big fan of working in the yard. I never have been. Imagine my delight when, as a child who was often sent outside to weed the flowerbeds, I learn in Sunday school one week about the parable of the weeds. I went straight home and told my mother that I wasn’t going to weed the flowerbeds any more. She asked me how I thought I was going to get out of it and I told her that Jesus said I didn’t have to, that it was a bad thing to pull out the weeds. I really don’t remember my mother’s reply to that, but I do know that it wasn’t long before I found myself out in the flowerbeds again, on my hands and knees pulling weeds.
I also remember watching my mother and my father working out in the yard, pulling weeds out of the lawn. At least as I remember them, most of them were dandelions. I wasn’t allowed to pull the dandelions because I never got the whole root and it would just grow back again and the last thing that my parents wanted were for those weeds to grow back in the yard again.
I grew up thinking that a dandelion was nothing but a useless weed that nobody really wanted around and the only one who really knows why these plants are around at all is God himself. Why did God create weeds anyway?
Imagine my surprise when years later I learned that there are people in the world who don’t view dandelions as weeds at all, they view them as vegetables. They call them greens. I personally have never eaten them, I am not real crazy about other more common greens like mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens, but I have learned that some folks actually prepare dandelion greens and eat them. Would you imagine that, people eating weeds?
That is quite a paradox. It is all the same plant, but to some it is a weed and yet to others it is a vegetable. So do we weed it out of the yard or do we pick off the leaves, boil them and eat them and let the rest continue to grow for the next harvest?
When I was a kid and out weeding mom’s flowerbeds I often had difficulty. I would look at the plants that were there. Some would have flowers and she would say to “pull that weed” and others didn’t have any blooms, at least not yet, and she would say, “Oh no, don’t pull that one, it is a flower.”
For many people, if clover is growing in your yard it is a weed that needs to be pulled or at least chocked out. Yet on March 17th every year there are shamrocks, clover hanging everywhere. At that one point of the year it would seem everyone around us wants clover, at least the four leafed kind because it is supposed to be good luck.
Like I said, it is all quite a paradox. I am reminded of something that I was once told by a man named Ted Hand who was a member at Pleasant Retreat and one of Tyler’s principle rose growers. “A weed is simply a plant that no one loved.”
It would seem that the paradox is, one person’s plant can be another person’s weed. Without question, there are weeds in the world, plants that probably any of us would consider weeds. There are even plants that have the word weed in their name. I have an acquaintance that has a master’s degree in Biology, botany to be more specific. He wrote his master’s thesis on the milkweed. I am not clear, however if he actually thinks that the milkweed is a weed.