Working in the yard a few days ago, I walked by the flower bed and noticed a big, ugly weed. Reached down, pulled it up, and started thinking about weeds. Nothing new and earth shattering here, but then I never promised that, now did I?
Weeds are typically defined as an unwanted plant in a cultivated area. That could cover a lot of stuff, but typically we think of them not just as the unwanted plants, but the ugly stuff that sucks the life out of the good stuff. Big, ugly, overgrown, life-sucking plants. But, weeds have some good qualities.
- Weeds are big, ugly, and easy to spot – they just don’t belong
- They have shallow roots, making them easy to get rid of (usually, if you get to them early)
- They don’t grow in a well-tended garden
One of my co-workers observed a few days ago that the sugar cane fields around here are absolutely clean and free of weeds. Not sure how they do that, but I suspect a good combination of soil preparation, cultivation, and having strong, healthy plants to out-compete the weeds.
The weed I pulled from the flower bed came out with hardly any effort at all – and it was certainly taller and uglier than anything else in the plot.
In the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-9), the seed that falls on good soil grows up strong and healthy. Francis Chan cautions us not to assume we are good soil. Soren Kierkegard said you don’t plant a garden and save a corner for weeds. You have to work that soil to make sure it stays clean and pure, and you cannot save a little corner for the big, ugly, life-sucking weeds.
Our spiritual life is like that. You don’t save place for weeds. But the good thing is – the weeds are easy to spot, they (usually) have shallow roots – especially when pulled out early, and they don’t thrive in a well-tended garden. So, stop trying to pull the weeds out of your life, and just work on cultivating a nice garden.