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But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. " Luke 8:15 NIV
Weaving through narrow, shoreline roads dotted with whitewashed gingerbread cottages, my sister and I simultaneously gasped, "How beautiful!" Peeking far above the picket fence of this corner lot a splash of nature's colors caught our attention: bright yellow, lacy white, hot pink, purple, and orange. All fashioned in their natural vases of green, this European flower garden was absolutely breath-taking.
I marveled aloud at our shared joy of flower gardens we inherited from our mother. No matter where we lived as kids, our mother always planted a flower garden. In her early retirement years she won the neighborhood "Best Garden" award for her work a number of times. One of my earliest memories is following behind her while she weeded in the hot summer sun. I'm not sure she ever formally taught me the reason for weeding or other gardening techniques but I learned just by following her.
First, weeds are sneaky. They creep up on you quickly and if they go unattended, they can choke out the healthy plants. It's essential to pull them out before they take over the whole garden.
Second, weeds must be pulled out by the roots or they'll keep growing back.
Third, weeds can be deceiving. They can be beautiful to look at, even appear to be the "real thing" so you have to discern the healthy plant from the weed.
Finally, healthy plants must be fed, watered , fertilized and given lots of sunshine to grow. If any of these elements are missing, the plant will not grow to its full potential.
Jesus warned against the weeds (thorns) of life that can choke us. He categorizes them as "life's worries, riches and pleasures." If we spend our days focused only on ourselves whether fretting, chasing money or over indulging in our pleasures we will remain immature and ineffective. But, Jesus says, if we spend our time focused on His word, effectively put it to use, and persevere then we will not only mature but reproduce.
What are the weeds threatening to take over your life's garden today? Do you need to spend some time on your knees with the Master Gardner, Jesus to find their roots? He's got an endless supply of fertilizer, living water, and Sonshine. Drink him in.