Summary: Why Weeds Succeed?
TEXT: Matthew 13:24-30
“Weeds in the Kingdom” – Part 2
Why Weeds Succeed
In the last message, we talked about what weeds are and why we should control them. Of course, the reason that we discuss weeds in our gardens is to understand part of the Kingdom of God. In this message, we will discuss why weeds succeed.
Weeds are notorious plants that are able to survive, persist, and multiply even under adverse conditions. How do these weeds survive under these circumstances? Their capacity to reproduce by many methods makes them amazingly versatile.
Consider their seeds. Most weeds can produce enormous amounts of seeds that are usually deposited on or in the soil. Often the smaller & lighter the seed, the more is produced by a weed plant. Common ragweed & Pennsylvania smartweed have been documented to produce over 3,000 seeds each. Pigweed is much worse, producing as many as 120,000 seeds per plant.
If you multiply the number of weed seeds that a mature weed might produce each year by the number of years the weed has been a problem, you begin to realize what a tremendous reservoir of weed seeds is in the soil.
I was interning at a church several years ago and there was a man that fits this description. He had been in the church for many years and had reached the status symbol of “Mature Weed.” When you first meet him, he acts like your best friend & is so hospitable. It’s like gazing at a beautiful dandelion flower, but not realizing what’s going on under the surface. The whole time he has been spreading his seeds everywhere he can find soil. If you take the number of years he’s been in the church & multiply them by the seeds he’s spread, you realize what kind of shape that church was in. What made it ever worse, is that he was a deacon in the church. Titus 1:7 says that an overseer in the church should be blameless, not pursuing dishonest gain. But that church never went to the community where this man lived to see what his reputation was. I was at a business one day and the owner asked if our church was the one that this weed went to. When we answered yes, the owner of the business let us know what his reputation was: “He is a scoundrel & a liar, and I wouldn’t pay a dollar for his life.”
People in the community knew he was a weed. Unsaved people knew he wasn’t leadership material, so why do churches ignore this fact? Because some churches are so desperate for leaders, that they will take anyone they can get. Also, if you have weeds in your congregation, they’re going to vote for the head weed.
When you cultivate or disturb the soil, you see so many new weeds form. You are bringing dormant seeds to the soil surface where they can readily germinate. Sometimes people get discouraged about weediness and they think they can correct the situation by digging up the lawn or garden and starting all over again – but it doesn’t work that way. Disturbing the soil brings more weed seeds to the surface where they can germinate and continue the problem.
Pastors come into a church and begin to cultivate the soil of that garden. It doesn’t take too long before some weed sprout begin to appear. They begin to have opposition & they get discouraged & frustrated. They just want to kick the weeds out of the church & start all over. But it doesn’t work that way. You can get rid of the weed blossom, but the root & seeds are hard at work underground.
Different weeds have different invasion tactics. Most of us in Houston have come to either love or loathe bermudagrass. You love it because it, most likely, is the only grass in your yard. Or you loathe it because it is the weed that just keeps on creeping. Bermudagrass, ground ivy & white clover spread & reproduce by stolons – creeping aboveground stems. Besides forming mats, the stems root as they creep along. You can eliminate the older parts of the weed that are on the surface, but if bits of rooted stem remain, they will continue to grow and increase the size of the patch.
This creeping can also go on underground by a type of stem called a rhizome. These are a series of underground networks and connections. If one weed is pulled, a signal is sent to the taproot to produce more stems & seeds. You may have pulled one weed last week, but this week there are 5 in it’s place. Cultivating breaks up the soil & stimulates the growth of many more buds. A single weed that utilizes rhizomes can quickly form a whole colony.