"An enemy did this" he replied. The servants asked him, "Do you want us to go and pull them up?"
No, he answered, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters; First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn."
Matthew 13: 24-29
As I sat on the front porch today overlooking our front yard, my mind drifted to this passage. A year ago this week, we moved into our little hill country gem. When we first closed and arrived here, we knew the home needed some work to make it the way we wanted it. For one, the landscaping and yard had been greatly neglected. There was no real grass to speak of. Brown and burnt up from the hot July sun for certain - but more than that, we learned it really had never been watered in all the time the last family lived here. The previous owners had laid a foundation of Burmuda grass - we could tell, but without the right care it hadn't survived or thrived. The middle of the circle drive had actually been used to park a vehicle or two. The land in the center was beaten down and quite compacted. Anything that was growing there were weeds.
As I looked out on to this today ... my mind drifted into thinking how much that green grass resembled our lives.
Humor me while I try to describe the ramblings in my head ...
First, our spiritual life is so much like that grass. Left unwatered and unattended, it dries up. We can even lay the foundation of good grass (accepting Christ), but unless we fertilize, water and care for it - the runners of that grass will never sprout and we will never see the fruits of that foundation. If the roots of that grass never deepen, we will be left with dry, brittle ground. Once we do begin to water and care for the grass (time in the word and with the Lord) , a crazy thing begins to appear - weeds begin to appear first - or at the very least, become much more noticeable. Our lives are the same. As we grow into relationship with the Lord, we begin to realize how much sin has crept into our lives. The behaviors and things we once thought were o.k. (because they are by the world's standards) all of a sudden begin to stand out. It's not pretty ... why must the weeds appear first? If a sin and stronghold has been allowed to sit on our grass (remember that parking spot), the land becomes even more dry and harder. As does our hearts. It takes quite a bit of water and time to even begin to see the runners from the grass around those spots to send out it's shoots and begin to fill in those spots. It may also take outside help ... dirt filled with extra nutrients and fertilizers creates a space filled with good soil for those runners to grow. The process can be tedious and long. It may seem like they will never fill in. For us - a year later, we still have bare spots that lack grass. Each night, we water. We fertilize, we spray weed control and we tend to that grass. It doesn't happen over night and to be honest, the process is costly - but worth it! With time, as the grass begins to take root and grow deeper roots, the weeds in our lives (and that grass) begin to be choked out. The healthier the grass is - the less weeds we begin to see. Healthy grass and deep roots create even more runners and with time - those bare dirt spots begin to fill in. The fruit of all that work is a beautiful and lush yard for all to enjoy.
As I sat staring at the green grass in front of me, I was reminded of the many weeds in my own life. In college, I said YES to the Lord. I accepted him into my heart. Since that time, I have grown dry and brittle patches over various periods of time. I have noticed that when I haven't watered, fertilized and tended to myself through time with God's word, through worship and community with others who share the same heart - not only has my grass grown dry and brittle, but big empty spots have appeared.
Another thought of that passage is that this parable that Jesus is teaching does not refer to unbelievers in the professing church but rather the field in his message is the world. He is talking about the people of the Kingdom living side by side with the people of the non-believing world. Although the Kingdom will seem to have an insignificant beginning, it will eventually spread throughout the world. Although when we arrived a year ago, we could barely see small blades of the once planted Burmuda grass ... with a lot of attention, watering, nurturing and taking care of - that grass has grown deeper roots, spread it's runners and now, there are far less weeds and that lush green grass you see is slowly taking over.
So the question is, as a Believer in this world, are you brittle grass that lacks proper care? How are you caring for your roots? If you aren't, the weeds will take over you ... and the area around you. You won't be effective and there will be very little evidence that you exist. But - if you tend to your grass properly, you might find that your grass will grow thick, the weeds will be smothered out and the Kingdom of heaven will expand all around you.
Get to fertilizing and watering!! What are you waiting for? Have some great ideas to make those roots grow deep - do share. I'm always looking for new fertilizer.