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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weeds in the Garden

This time of year always has me reflect back to portions of scriptures that refer to growing crops and farming. In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the disciples the parable about the weeds. A man sewed good seeds in his field, but while he was sleeping his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. The servants saw when the weeds came up and asked their master if they should pull them out, but the master said “No, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest” (Matthew 13:29).

I should have listened to this advice this year in my flower garden, which usually gets overrun with weeds by July. So this year I determined to keep it weed free. The only problem was I wasn’t sure about some questionable greenery growing all over my garden—was it a flower or a dreaded weed invading my flower beds. I pulled out the largest clump that looked like it might crowd out other flowers and left a few test samples to see if they’d produce flowers. I took a sample to a gardener and she was sure it was dianthus, a carnation or pinks, but I was sure it was not. Another friend gave me a weed book and I spotted the culprit—so I thought. I pulled out more, but left a few.

To my surprise a few weeks later the so called weeds produced purple, red and while Sweet Williams, a pretty cousin to carnations. Unfortunately, I had weeded the largest clump and it was barren in that spot, but at least I had left the roots for next year. The gardener had been correct, and I wrong. I learned my lesson—don’t pull up the weeds right away. Wait to see what fruit is produced, or flower in this case. It was a similar lesson that Jesus was trying to teach his disciples when he told them the meaning of the parable of the weeds. Wait until the harvest. Let the two grow up together, then you’ll see which are the weeds and which are the good crop.

I saw myself in this parable—making a judgment call on what’s a weed before giving it time to prove itself. I need to give people time to show their true colors before I come to a conclusion about them. Time will tell if they’ll produce only weeds or flowers. God gives us time. He’s patient with us. He gives us a chance to convert from being a weed to a flower or a luscious fruit. He doesn’t judge us right away, but waits to the end, to the harvest. He looks on the inside to see what potential we have, whether a flower or a fruit. It’s up to us. Next year, I won’t be so hasty to pull up those weedy looking stems. Now I know they are really sweet flowers beneath their exterior. How about you?