Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
By Clyde Blakely
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Residing in town part of the back yard had to be dug up. All preparation was done by hand – shoveling, raking, leveling, planting and weeding. Especially the weeding as residual grass roots kept shooting up sprouts. First lesson: get as many of the old roots out before trying to grow anything.
Lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, and carrots were carefully planted in neat rows and labeled. Daily I would weed and marvel at the new growth springing forth from the earth. Dead seeds coming to life; I remembered Jesus’ words that a seed must first die before it can produce life (John 12:24). Another Kingdom lesson learned from His garden.
I was proud that I was effectively controlling the weeds until one day, to my dismay grass was coming up right where I planted my carrots. Perplexed, not knowing if I had missed roots or I acquired a bad pack of seeds, I pulled up the intruders and purchased more carrot seeds. A few days later the “grass” reappeared. Realizing that carrot sprouts look just like new grass and I learned another lesson about His Kingdom: often new babes in Christ may look like “weeds” but they too will mature and bear fruit if well attended or their roots are not removed from good soil.
Later I moved to the Rocky Mountains and at a mile and a half elevation, short summers, cool nights, and dry, sandy soil it was difficult to have much of a garden. I did not learn to appreciate the “baby” carrots at the end of summer. I wanted the luxurious, mouth watering carrots of the valley. A green house solved the problem – all the vegetables I wanted. I acquired another garden lesson about His Kingdom: sometimes there needs to be a time of isolation from the rest of the world in order to grow to maturity.
Moving back to a region more naturally conducive for growing I planted my biggest garden. Everything was there, and of course, my favorite variety of carrots. Weeding one day I noticed a plant coming up in the carrot row which looked slightly different – same leaf style but a shade darker and slightly taller than the rest of the young sprouts. I was tempted to pull it up but it was in the carrot row, surrounded with all the other new growth. Giving it time to grow would help determine which it was – good fruit or a weed. It grew taller and faster than all the others in the row but had become so intertwined with the other plants I dared not remove it without possibly damaging what I knew to be carrots. I still hoped it was a “different variety of carrot” whose seed happened to get into my package. Come harvest time my suspicions proved correct: above the surface it looked a lot like a real carrot but its root was different, it was a weed and discarded. The parable Jesus’ explained to His disciples about the enemy spreading weeds among His well planted crops (Matt. chapter 13) easily unfolded in my mind.
Even though my “carrot experiences” were varied they had attributes in common: the carrots all grew where they were planted, all had to die first before starting a new life, each was affected by its environment, they needed life giving water, warmth, and “sunlight”, periods of isolation and extra care were sometimes required to mature properly, there’s a large variety of carrots but they’re all carrots, God knows the difference between a true carrot and a weed, and in due time they all will be harvested.
The Psalmist said that the heavens (and earth) declare the glory of God (Ps. 19:1). Even the lowly carrot declares His glory and teaches us about His Kingdom.
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