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Friday, September 14, 2007


I actually did some work in the yard yesterday. The weather has been so beautiful (other than the hay fever inducing allergens) that I just can’t stand to waste it being inside doing much needed housework. So, instead, I did much needed gardening.

I trimmed up my 1 remaining rosemary bush. There were 2 of them when we moved in but one died last summer. The remaining one was starting to get some dead spots so I trimmed those out. I don’t know how long rosemary bushes live, but these have got to be close to the age of our house, which is 27 years old. I also pulled a bunch of weeds in the “flower bed” and trimmed up my lantana, which was completely out of control and taking over like they tend to do when left unchecked.

As I finished weeding one section of the bed I came to realize that I had just disturbed and possibly destroyed an entire ecosystem. I know for a fact that I displaced many critters that had been living in the dense weeds and moist soil including (but not limited to – aka these are only the ones I saw): a large wolf spider possibly with eggs or babies, 1 snake, 3 lizards, tons of beetles, and a whole mess of earth worms (1 of which I kept for the kids).

As I always do when I’m pulling up the out of control weeds in my beds, I begin thinking of the spiritual implications of what I’m doing. First, I thought about trimming the rosemary bush and lantana. John 15:1-2 says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” This is exactly what I did… the dead parts got completely removed from the rosemary in order to hopefully preserve the rest of the plant. I ask myself, who is the branch that does not bear fruit? Is it the one who does not know Christ, or is it the one who knows him but is not living the life Christ wants them to lead? What if it’s the one who has always heard of Jesus, has a belief in him, but never has come to a saving knowledge and faith in Him? Is it the one who chooses to deny him Lordship in their lives when they have clearly been shown the path? I’m just thinking “out loud” here so if you have any insight on this, please share.

And I pruned the lantana so that more shoots would produce more flowers and hopefully draw more beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds to my back yard. I think about how out of control my life gets with me stretching my arms and legs out too thin like that lantana. I begin to wonder, “What does the Lord need to prune out of my life in order for me to produce more beautiful flowers to draw people unto Himself.” I did recently back out of one commitment that I had made as I felt that I was stretched too thin. I felt like I was going to be doing things only half-way. So I asked the Lord what needed to go. He was very clear in his revelation to me and it went.

And then there are the weeds. I had a difficult time finding a scriptural reference for this, and maybe it’s just an illustration I’ve heard over and over again, but I always relate weeds to sin. There is the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 which may be where I’m getting this relation in my mind. But as I’m pulling up these weeds and I see how they have just taken over several beds, I think of how sin can truly take over our lives when left un-dealt with. If I would be faithful to ask God to reveal sin in me and to confess it and ask for forgiveness regularly, then it wouldn’t get so out of control… just like the weeds in my yard that I need to regularly pull to keep under control.

And what about all those critters? Getting all those weeds out of the way brought light to the underlying soil and the bugs went a-scurrying just as sin can only do when it is revealed in the light of His Word. What critters can live among the weeds of sin in our lives? The critters that come to my mind are people that are unhealthy for us to be around, situations that put us in danger, among other life situations that can all be displaced once we begin to deal with the underlying sin that allows those unhealthy situations to flourish.