by Reuben Carter
As I write this, we are at our house in Wisconsin.
Summer in the Midwest brings lots of rain, which in turn produces lush vegetation, and of course, that includes…weeds! As I was getting caught up on some of these intruders, I reflected on the following:
* If you want a healthy, productive garden, you need to weed regularly
* Weeds choke out the plants you want to grow, sometimes even killing them off slowly
* Weeds can mimic the real flowers you want to enjoy, even fruit you want to eat!
* You can mess up your real plants very easily, so sometimes you have to weed carefully, or even wait a bit to see what is really growing
* Weeding clears out the area around plants, gives more air, room for water, and growth
I couldn’t help but think of the Parable of the Soils from Mark 4. Especially in verses 18-19, where Jesus gives the explanation to his ‘dull disciples.’ Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making in unfruitful.
It seems there can be weeds in our lives that choke out the seed of the Word that is growing and bearing fruit for eternity. I need to ‘weed out’ my life regularly:
* I’ve been personally challenged to have the Word more at the center of my life…so another coworker and I have started memorizing scripture together—something I last did faithfully as a ‘new disciple’ forty plus years ago!
* We’re trying to clear out our schedule a bit! How many ‘obligations’ or expectations are really from Him? How many are driven by worries for recognition, inclusion or approval of others?
* I’ll be challenging myself and our ministry teams to weed out some of the ‘underbrush’ in our personal lives too: attitudes that hinder relationships; busyness that keeps relationships from deepening; habits that can ‘choke out the Word’ and the work of the Spirit [desire for other things?]
I pray that our hearts will be like the ‘good soil’ that ‘hears the word, accepts it, and produces a crop that honors Him.