Pulling Weeds

Mother’s Day is just around the corner!  Last year I was able to go home and see my parents for Mother’s Day.  On Saturday, I took Dad shopping to get some gifts for Mom.  One thing on her list was some lantana to plant in the yard.  Even though they live well within the city limits, they have a problem with deer, and Mom had found that lantana was something she could plant that they wouldn’t eat.

So Dad and I went to a nursery before heading to the mall so we could get some good quality plants.  Part of my gift to her that weekend was to also plant them for her.  So that afternoon on a beautiful day, I weeded the front flower beds and planted all the lantana that we bought.  With plants from a nursery, good soil that was now weed-free, and a place with good light and water, I figured that the lantana would thrive.

You can imagine my surprise later that summer when Mom told me that some of the plants weren’t doing well.  In July, I got to go see my parents again, and Mom asked if I could help her move the struggling plants to some planters she had gotten to put on the front steps instead.

I felt like a detective looking over the plants, seeing which ones had done well and which ones hadn’t, trying to figure out what had happened because it made no sense to me.  I was sure they were all set up for success!  It turned out that the difference between them was caused by weeds that had come back more quickly and densely than I expected.  They were blocking the light.  The plants that were thriving had enough light because the weeds weren’t covering them.

As I worked on weeding and pulling the struggling plants out, the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 came to mind, specifically the part about the thorns.
“And others (i.e. seeds) fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.” (Matthew 13:7)  Later in verse 22, Jesus explains this verse:
“And the one on whom the seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

While they weren’t technically thorns, while I was weeding I thought about how the weeds choked out the lantana so that it couldn’t flourish.  And the real problem that caused the “choking” was that the weeds blocked the light.

And then it hit me – that’s what my worries do, too!  They block the light of God and His word in my life which makes me unfruitful.  I could just see all those worries in my head choking out the Word, keeping it from being in my thoughts.  When I am worrying, I’m not meditating on truth or on God and who He is.  I am letting those anxious thoughts grow in my head like weeds that block the light.

That day I helped Mom move those struggling, choked plants into planters on the steps.  They were now in a place where the weeds would be minimal, and they would get plenty of light.  Later that summer, Mom sent me this picture.  They were finally flourishing, just as I had originally expected them to do.  But only because this time there were no choking weeds.

How I need to be careful to “weed” the garden of my mind and heart of the worries that can so easily fill them so that I will flourish like these plants!  I need the light of God and His word to thrive.  I need to be diligent to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and not let the “weeds of worry” grow so large that I become unfruitful.  As I work in my yard this year, I pray that weeding my flower beds will be a regular reminder to “weed my worries”, too.