Sunday, September 20, 2009
time spent pulling weeds is time well spent....
Yesterday I pulled weeds. We were in Florida at the worst time for my garden this year. It rained and it was hot for the two weeks I was gone and the weeds took over the garden. Pulling weeds got me to thinking (what else is there to do when pulling weeds, pulling weeds is pretty mindless really).
Sin has often been compared to weeds and our lives are often compared to a harvest field and the Bible frequently reminds us that we are to produce fruit. That is the difference between weeds and good plants. Weeds don’t produce any sort of beneficial fruit, they seldom produce the beautiful blossoms that are treasured in flower gardens, and if they do flower they are often invasive and out of control.
Consequently, gardeners don’t like weeds and don’t want them in a garden that is intended to grow beneficial food or beautiful flowers. So gardeners spend hours on their hands and knees pulling weeds out from among the fruitful or flowering plants. But a good gardener knows that while the weed may be gone from the surface of the soil, it isn’t necessarily gone. If the gardener doesn’t go to the root of the problem, the weed will grow back, just like sin.
We can remove the visible signs of sin from our lives and feel wonderful and suddenly one day we look at our life and realize that we’ve fallen into the same sin again and wonder why it is so hard to get rid of sin. It is because sin has roots.
While gardeners universally dislike weeds, it is ignorant to think that all weeds should be removed or treated the same way. Also, it is good to remember that some weeds are harder to remove than others. See how much like sin a weed is?
Some weeds like dandelions grow with a taproot. The taproot is a long strong root that goes deeply into the ground and brings up the nutrients it needs to survive from the deep. If the gardener wants to eradicate the plant, he must get the entire root out. If he doesn’t remove the entire root the remaining piece will send up a new plant and continue to flourish. So a gardener must dig deep to get every bit of the root out.
Some sins are like that. The root is deeply embedded in our lives. They reach all the way to the center of our soul so to speak and if we want to get rid of the sin we have to get every scrap of the root out of the soul. While it is hard to dig that deeply into our lives to eradicate a deeply rooted sin – the result is rewarding. If the root is completely gone so is the sin.
Some grassy weeds have spreading root systems that run along under the surface of the earth allowing the weed to pop up again several inches or even feet away. Again the gardener must pull out all the roots. If any roots remain the weed will send up a plant and flourish. However, rather than digging down to get all the root, the gardener needs to follow the root below the surface and if it breaks, he must find it again and continue to remove it.
Some sins are like these weeds with invasive root systems. The sin may not be deep but it doesn’t exist in just one part of our life. It might have started out as a small lie but as the lie grows so does the underground root system supporting it. To eradicate the sin, every little bit of that lie in all the parts of your life that have a root of it in them must be examined and the roots removed.
Still it is tempting to just cut the weed off at the ground – because after all if you can’t see the weeds the garden looks great. However, it is very unwise. The longer those roots stay in the ground the more they spread and you have to keep cutting them off to keep the garden looking good. Every new growing season will bring more weeds spreading underground and choking out the flowers and the vegetables. Eventually, you won’t be able to hide the weeds that are killing your garden. Sounds a lot like secret sins.
A lazy gardener might be tempted to let the weeds grow. Foolish man. The weeds can then go to seed and spread even more rapidly through the garden. I won’t even begin to tell you all the ways seeds spread and how hard it is to kill a seed. If the weeds in the garden are left to go to seed, it takes drastic measures to clean the soil. Often gardeners resort to harsh chemicals to kill everything so that they can start fresh. Can you imagine the agony you introduce to your life if you let sin go so out of control?
The parable of the sower and the seed was about the spreading of the gospel but the images of what weeds can do is a good reminder to the believer to tend to his own weeds lest the faith and fruit in his life be choked out.