Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Be careful with those weeds

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I look at my garden at times and wonder where all the weeds come from. It isn't as though I plant those seeds. I don't even encourage them to find their way into my yard, much less take root in my soil. Have you ever stopped to consider the 'value' of a weed? I found out many are edible and you may have actually find you have even eaten some this very week! We probably all know dandelion leaves are edible, but how many of us have gnoshed on them? Watercress grows at the creek bed and was often a delicacy my dad would delight in on a hot summer's day of fishing. Lamb's quarter is a common weed in many gardens and we probably pluck it up, casting it aside in the rubbish bin. Yet, it is purported to have a taste similar to spinach and is even healthier for you! Not all weeds are bad - just as not all people are bad because of their labels!

“God’s kingdom is like a mustard seed that a man plants in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it grows, it is the largest of all garden plants. It becomes a tree big enough for the birds to come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)

From the tiniest of seeds come some of the greatest virtues. Moral excellence doesn't spring up because it is the most aggressive seed in the garden of our souls. It springs forth because the conditions are right for it to grow! Weeds might seem like they have no 'excellence', but we can disprove that theory! What seems like the most unlikely character trait for God to use might just actually prove as a worthy thing in his hands. Don't discount the potential he sees in that tiny seed within you - he hasn't! Plantain is a weed, yet the nutritional value of the leaves of this common weed are astronomical. Not every weed is worthless - sometimes we just have to look deeper to see the value contained within. Yet, too many weeds in our garden can actually become a hazard to the garden growth. Why? The weeds give safe haven to destructive insects! Weeds may be fine in some cases, but if we allow an overgrowth, we may not be able to preserve the 'virtue' of the rest of the garden!

Did you ever stop to consider that weed seeds exist in every square inch of your garden, but it is those that are in the top one to two inches of the garden that spring up? Turning the soil of your garden doesn't ensure there will be no other weeds that spring forth! It might actually serve to give the buried seeds enough of what they need to grow! Maybe this is why God asks us to allow him to tend the gardens of our souls - turning over time and time again the soil of our souls so that every weed seed has an opportunity to be exposed. Those that won't harm us, he might allow to grow so they add something of excellence to our gardens. Those that will soon harbor unwelcome inhabitants he will encourage us to actively 'weed out' because he is fully aware of how damaging their presence can be. We don't always know what a seed will produce. Stop for a moment to consider the mustard seed. It is actually a weed! I would find it hard to enjoy a hot dog fresh off the grill on a summer's eve without the rich yellow condiment, though! It lends flavor to the dog, doesn't it? It adorns it with contrasting color and it awakens the taste buds as you take it in.

The seed may not always produce good things, but in the hands of Jesus each seed has the potential of being either cultivated or weeded out appropriately. Sometimes I think we are too quick to discount the value of the 'growth' that springs forth just because we didn't see the seed planted! Just sayin!

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