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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A little weeding time

Have you ever observed just how easily weeds grow and how terribly much work tending a garden seems to require?  It just does not seem fair at how easily the weeds sprout up all over the place, while coaxing one rose bush to bloom requires dead-heading, careful watering, and regular fertilizing.  A typical lawn may require hundreds of dollars a year just in "weed-preventer" chemicals!  What is up with all these weeds?


God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, "He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out."  This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.  (2 Corinthians 9:8-11 The Message)


The weeds never seem like a blessing, do they?  In fact, they almost make us curse!  I have learned some very interesting lessons from my weeds, though.  There are weeds which are very green - pluck them up and the lawn or garden seems to have "bald" patches which once appeared all nice and green.  Some are deceiving us with their pretty flowers - lulling us into admiring them, while all the while, they are preparing to let loose of hundreds of "weed-seeds" in a moment of time!  Then we have the weeds which don't really seem to be evident - but step on one of their spiny "burs" and you will soon be aware of their presence.  Lest you think I am only referring to the weeds in my outside garden and lawn, I am not.  There are these similar kinds of weeds in my "inner garden" which take over if not addressed!


Our passage today reflects on the blessings of God - extravagant blessings.  Yet, when Paul presents this idea of God pouring out blessings in astonishing ways, he is referring to the "giving" in order to have something to "give away".  Some may think it odd of me to get a "blessing" out of weeding my garden, but in some respects, it is very rewarding.  Sure, the lawn looks a little barren for a while when those green, leafy weeds are no longer firmly rooted in the soil.  But...it is this "barren" soil which gives room to the grass to grow as it is intended to, spreading out, taking root, and providing a rich and refreshing cover of green.  


The burs are a different matter.  I have to get "pricked" a few times before I actually get to the root of those menacing tentacles of pain!  The cocklebur weed is a tenacious thing - spreading out in all kinds of directions, weaving itself carefully into the blades of grass, until it has a firm root.  Then, before long, it puts out all these spiny little burs.  As time passes, these burs harden and become a menace to anyone who gets one attached to their sock, pant hem, or the tufts of an animals fur.  They become a source of irritation and try as you might, they just seem to attach more firmly whenever you make a move!


Now, what do those burs have to teach me?  First, they take root fast and "spread out", getting into areas they shouldn't.  Sin is like that - it spreads if not weeded-out quickly!  Second, although unnoticed at first, the burs make it quite evident in the end!  Sin cannot be hidden long - the "burs" will prick at us.  The more we "worry" on the burs, the more they seem to get entwined in our emotions.  Our faithful God is quick to point out the sin when it is not yet deeply rooted - weeding it out early prevents it from being a "bur" to be reckoned with later on!


What about the weeds which lull us into admiring them with their beautiful show of brightly colored flowers?  As a kid, I would walk the desert and find the wildflowers.  I never realized they were mostly weeds!  They "displayed" themselves as pretty flowers!  Sin is deceptive this way - putting up a good show at first, but secretly ready to release hundreds of "seeds".  The seeds produce fresh doubt, fear, worry, shame, guilt, and the list goes on.  Lulled by their seeming appearance of being "okay", we miss the "outgrowth" of their seeds!  Weeding them out, instead of admiring their "appearance" of being "okay", prevents seeds which will produce countless other issues in our lives.


So, getting back to our passage - God "gives" in order for us to have something to "give out".  Even the lesson of the weeds is a blessing which was given in order to be given out.  If it speaks to you - awesome!