Needs, Weeds, and Seeds1
Riding around on the farm this year seems to be a never ending journey of discovering new weeds growing in the fields. Although weeds are nothing new in farming, there is a resurgence lately of uncontrollable weeds that hasn't been seen in years. Despite the latest technology in science and or mechanical engineering, the unwanted plants seem to find a way to survive. In my fields, there are two kinds of weeds. One is the wild species that just exist in the soil. The other are remnants of crops that I produced in the past, such as peanuts that fell on the ground last fall during harvest and are now growing in my corn field. In other words, I introduced these weeds myself.
Regardless of which type, they consume valuable resources such as minerals and water that the existing crop needs to grow, thereby limiting the growth of the intended crop. What's more concerning is the fact that one weed can produce up to a million seeds. One little insignificant plant can explode into a serious problem overnight.
The really frustrating thing is that I have come to realize that this is a picture of my life. There are plenty of things that consume my time, energy, and mind to the point that I can't function the way Christ calls me to.
First, there are the trials of life that are sure to come to everyone regardless of what we do. Flat tires, sick children, wasp stings, bills, more bills, tornadoes, floods, etc. We are called to deal with these in a biblical manner, realizing that, as a result of the fall, life will be hard and also that God uses trials to discipline those He loves. When the flat tire causes us to miss an appointment that then causes us to miss out on a job opportunity, we see the example of one weed turning into many weed seeds in our life. It's in these moments that we must lay our troubles before the Lord, before we spiral out of control.
I now move to the example of the weeds that I have introduced. This category is a little more controllable in theory, but I have done a poor job with it in my life. It's simply having too many needs or “good things” in our lives. It's noble and honorable to work hard and support your family, but it is sinful to spend all of your time doing so. Scripture points to a balance by calling us to work, raise children, love our spouses, love our neighbors, serve the church, rest, and live wholeheartedly for the Lord. When I work too much, I am tired, which makes me less likely to show fruits of the Spirit. This leads to me saying things I shouldn't , or not doing things I should, such as loving my neighbor. It's hard to check on your neighbor when you don't have time. We become slaves to the good things we pursue. I confess that I have not been able show mercy to others because my time is already spoken for.
It's not just work that I'm talking about. For some of you it may be a hobby or lifestyle. I see plenty of parents enroll their children into every sport, camp, class, etc. that’s available. Just like one weed turning into more weed seeds, so it goes with these families. Constantly rushing to the next event leads to less time to nurture and teach our children. “We would love to read them a Bible story tonight, but we're just too tired from the day”, and so it goes. Pretty soon the one bad choice of being too busy, has turned into a patch of weed seeds with stressed parents and children that don't know the Word.
What do we do? Well it's nothing easy. For us to know what's the right thing to hold onto, and the right thing to let go of, we must have a clue to what God wants for us. Sorry, He doesn't say exactly what to do. However, His word can feed us and fill us with a desire for what He desires for us.
The way to minimize the weeds in my crop fields is to cover the ground with more of the desirable crop. This helps shade out the weeds to keep them from becoming a problem. The other thing is that I have to be diligent to take out the weeds that eventually break through. I think our life as believers is the same. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us to fill our lives with the Word and to “diligently teach them to our children “. This is how we shade out those weeds that distract us from serving God. The other part is that we must “in faith” fight against those things that eventually come our way. Ephesians 6:16 says “you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”
Just like on my farm, I will never rid myself of all the weeds. I have to trust that God will provide for me. We likewise must trust in the righteousness of Christ (Romans 1:17), because we can fight to reduce the trials of life, but we will fail at some point. He never fails! Join me in praying about how we can best use our time to the service of Christ. Psalm 90:17