By: Stephanie A. Dawson
Those who have known me for a long time know that, in the past, I really disliked gardening – although if you see my garden now you would not believe me. My mother can bear witness today because she has always enjoyed plants and flowers and would often give me flowers to say “hello,” “thanks,” or “happy birthday.” Unfortunately, after only a few days they would die due to neglect; I failed to give them even the slightest drop of water.
Recently, I learned that we are all like gardens, waiting to blossom in our season of life. However, before that can happen effectively, the Gardener (our Creator God) has to water (or feed) us with His Word and sometimes even prune us – that is cut back or remove dead matter from our lives in order for us to grow.
Thankfully, there are no more dead plants! That was all in the past and I have grown. Now I really enjoy gardening. During the summer months, I spend a considerable amount of time making my garden look presentable. What really amazes me, however, are the weeds; they seem to have no problem growing, even without my TLC. They grow so quickly and everywhere, even in the crevices of driveways. No matter how hard I try to stop them, or how fast I pull them up, the weeds just seem to keep on growing and spreading all over the lawn and flower beds. I have even resorted to spraying all kinds of weed killers and potions on the driveway and the offending sprouts—but still they grow!
This reminds me of the parable of the sower in Mark 4. The seed sown is God’s Word and if we allow it to fall on thorny ground, the weeds – like the cares of this world – will choke us and prevent us from receiving God’s Word (Mark 4:18-19). A good comparison would be the Parrotfeather, an eye-catching water plant with feather-like leaves and small white flowers. Despite its attractive appearance, this plant is actually a destructive weed that forms a thick covering over lakes and ponds. It overruns native plants, thus damaging the natural ecosystem. Sin can be just like that in our lives. It can come in seemingly beautiful disguises but only chokes our walk with God.
In Mark 4:13-20, Jesus was talking about how nonbelievers receive the Gospel but His words also apply to Christ-followers. Sometimes when we read God’s Word, our minds are taken up with troubles, worries, and fears. The pressure of things to be done today and concerns about tomorrow’s decisions are “weeds” that can choke the Word and make it unprofitable. How many times have you opened your Bible to read, or sat down to pray, and other thoughts enter your mind to the point of total distraction? To control the weeds, we must ask God to quiet our hearts and minds so we can pay attention to Him. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” (NKJV). We need to get down on our knees and prayerfully pull out the weeds growing in our lives. Our sprays and weed killers come in the form of prayer and spending time in the Bible. We need to feed on God’s Word and grow with the Living Water of life that God provides.
As a young Christian, my Bible was signed by some friends and one of them wrote: “This Book will keep you from sin OR sin will keep you from this Book.” Don’t let the weeds (sin or the cares of this world) keep you from the Book of Life. When I refuse to be distracted by the weeds, I can turn my attention to the beauty of the garden and the satisfaction it brings. In the same way, when we turn our worries over to God, we’ll be free to enjoy His presence and hear what He has to say to us.
This couplet sums it up neatly:
The weeds will take over and choke out good fruit
But you can control them – just follow this plan
Make sure that the seed of God’s Word has deep root
And pull out the weeds just as soon as you can!
This is a wise plan to follow because the deeper the root is planted, the harder it is to get rid of. Let’s make a promise to plant God’s Word deeper than any weed that can grow, so that each of us can be the beautiful garden God created us to be!
Stephanie A. Dawson is a poet, published writer, and single mother originally from London, England. She has been inspired to write since she first gave her heart to the Lord and is currently working on her debut book. www.Steph.BlessingsDirect.com