Springtime in Kentucky is a most beautiful time of year. The greening pastures on the horse farms are checker-boarded with white rail fences and dotted with sleek yearling thoroughbreds. It’s a sight to behold. The hill country comes alive with the color of redbud, dogwood, and tulip poplar trees. Wildflowers of various tints and hues paint the forest floors and pastures. My heart sings:
For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth over and around us lies.
For the wonder of each hour of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light.
Christ, our Lord, to you we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise! (Folliott Sandford Pierpoint)
At this point, I wish to interject a familiar phrase used by the late Paul Harvey, “Now, the rest of the story”. Along with the beauty of a spring comes issues in the flower beds around my house. The loose and enriched soil in the flower beds provides a nurturing place for flowers, but it’s also a conducive place for ‘weeds’ to grow and flourish. It’s hard work dealing with the weeds.
This spring I gave due diligence to the flower beds in front of the house. But, because of abundant spring rains and the difficulty of navigating a steep driveway, it had been some time since I had worked in the flower beds in the back. Those beds contain mostly perennials so I wasn’t overly concerned. When I finally went to check, what a surprise! There were weeds taller than the flowers and unwanted tree seedlings had also shot up about three feet The problem then became clearing out the weeds and seedlings without uprooting the flowers.
A spiritual corollary comes to mind. Unless the soul, like a flowerbed, is carefully and consistently tended, spiritual weeds take root and begin to spoil the beauty of a Christian life. Spiritual weeds left unchecked will choke out growth in grace and not allow fruits of the spirit to be produced. Scripture takes note of the problem:
- Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14-15)
- “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away” (Matthew 13:24-25, NKJV).
- “Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, but the worries of this life, the temptation of wealth, and many other evil desires keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit in their lives” (Mark 4:18-19, NCV).
Weeding is hard and tiring work but necessary if we want to enjoy the flowers. So it is in our spiritual lives if the beauty of Jesus is to be seen in us. We certainly must weed the conspicuous places, but we must not forget the weeds that are out of our sight line or around back.
Good Advice: “We must not become tired of doing good (weeding). We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
~ Brother Roy