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I don’t like weeds. My “earth friendly” acquaintances think I’m prejudiced to label any plant a “weed.” Whatever you want to call these “misplaced plants,” they are a nuisance to our flower beds, garden, and gravel driveway. One of my sons likes the quick solution of simply spraying poison on them and not wasting time pulling them up. My wife likes the idea of not putting poison anywhere in our yard or garden. And still another son doesn’t really think weeds are a problem. “Just ignore them.” But after some deep theological reflection (while pulling some of these pesky spouts out of my garden), I’ve concluded that weeds serve a purpose in life.

Weeds teach me that there are priorities that need tending on a regular basis. If I put my marriage on the back burner because I’m so busy with work, things “get between” us. If I decide to exercise occasionally, my health suffers. If I neglect time with God, the I am distant from Him. I cannot put off caring for key issues or my life will look like my garden after I returned from a two-week vacation. The weeds had taken over everything!

Habit and Pattern

Weeds also teach me that attacking certain issues quickly is much easier in the beginning than later on. If I weed my garden twice a week, I can stay on top of things because the weeds are small. But if I wait a few weeks and then tackle weeding, they grow fast and are much tougher to pull out. That’s also true with leading my family in worship. When I pull everyone together every day for evening worship, the habit and pattern is established. There is less resistance. A heart that is soft (moistened by the Spirit) is much easier to weed.

I’ve also learned from Jesus’ parable of the soils that weeds can destroy God’s work in my life. “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it” (Luke 8:7). Isn’t it true that weeds really do “spring up”? They steal nutrients from the soil. Distractions are like weeds. They eat up my time, money, and influence. God wants to work in my life, but when I put the “cares, riches, and pleasures of life” (v. 14) before the Lord, I cannot expect the fruit of the Spirit to grow in my life.

Weeds are best kept under control on a regular basis. So also is my life with God. Every day I need to tend to heart matters. Weeds teach me that sooner is better than later.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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