I was out in my vegetable garden recently. It was a beautiful morning, not yet hot, with a gentle breeze offsetting the warmth of the sun. Nearby a robin parent squawked at its youngster, obviously fretting over the offspring’s clumsy efforts to fly. As I bent over my row of carrots and radishes, I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit, almost as if He was peering over my shoulder, examining the tiny green plants with me. The plants were almost indistinguishable from the weeds – both were green and leafy and tiny. But I’ve been gardening for a long time, and I recognized the noxious weeds, snuggled among my tender plants as though masquerading as carrots and radishes. I wasn’t fooled, and I plucked them thoroughly, careful not to uproot my real plants which will produce food for my table. Those I am diligent to nurture. After all, I planted them. I am looking forward to what they will produce for me.
It occurred to me that the Lord is not fooled by weeds, either. No matter how closely the weeds resemble and even snuggle in with the plants, the Lord knows His own.
At times it’s tempting to rant and rave at the weeds. They don’t produce fruit, nothing useful for the Lord, and they take up space and attempt to choke the growth of the real plants. Who do they think they are, anyway? But the Lord is calm and does not panic. He has His own plan for dealing with them. Matthew 13:24 – 30, NASB, states the following:
24Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
25"But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.
26"But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.
27"The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'
28"And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?'
29"But he said, 'No, for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.
30"Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."
A certain amount of acceptance on our part of the world as it is seems necessary for now. The weeds are there, and will be there to the end of this age. We have a responsibility to grow, in spite of their best efforts to choke us out. After all, that’s just the nature of a weed. We can't expect them to be other than what they are. For now, our Lord focuses on nurturing His plants.
Our job, as His plants, is to grow. Growth takes time. I don’t expect edible carrots a day after planting the seeds – but I do expect growth. God is patient, but He does expect growth. He is able to nourish and cause us to grow, in spite of the ever-present, pushy, even threatening tendency of the weeds – but we need to be willing to receive what He is providing. His Word is rich with nourishment. Spending time with Him is refreshing, like water to dry plants. Lord, let us not neglect the spiritual nourishment You are so willing and faithful to provide!
I agree. I love to read about gardening in relationship to the Lord. The Lord often compared the physical with the Spiritual. The similarities, also the differences. I enjoyed reading your devotional. Very good article. Love in Christ,