Ken and I used to have a big garden behind my mother’s home. We raised plenty of vegetables for our little family to either eat immediately or to can for later enjoyment. The part about gardening I disliked the most was definitely weeding. Weeds grow pretty fast in our North Carolina climate. Weeding always made me feel a little discouraged as we had invested our time and attention into something that was easily overgrown if full attention was given … I also felt a little frustrated.
I can hear Ken’s words telling me to be sure and dig down to the root otherwise the weeds would just come back and he would have to pull it again later. One of my mother’s favorite sayings when I was growing up was “a job worth doing is worth doing right the first time.” I guess these wise words are for weeding too. I sure didn’t want Ken to catch me hastily pulling what was visible so that I could give him the appearance of a job well-done … hurrying so I could go do things that I thought was more important.
I could also sense a little bit of pride and hope as I did pull those large weeds free from the soil. I knew our little garden would be so much better off without these large weed stealing valuable nutrients and water from the veggies we were trying to grow … veggies we had watered and weeded continually.
I still remember a couple of things about gardening with Ken. First, weeds always start out small, but if ignored they grow into something huge and hard to uproot. Take Kudzu for an example. Like most invasive species, the Kudzu has no natural enemies, which allows it to grow relatively unhindered. This is particularly bad because the Kudzu vine is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, sometimes averaging feet a day. In fact, the Kudzu has devoured so many forests in the southern United States that it’s been given the nickname “The Vine That Ate the South”. Ken hated Kudzu … it hindered plenty of his surveying work. He always said it was one gigantic super-weed. But it does start out small like all weeds if left unattended. Secondly, and importantly, weeds will always grow back.
Jimmie has been getting his and Kimbo’s garden ready. This has brought back these memories of my gardening days. I immediately remembered how I hated pulling out weeds. There is this thing that Kimbo and I always try to do … look for a spiritual analogy by searching for positive thoughts and any learning principles I could gather. I began to think of spiritual analogies of pulling weeds and weeding my life.
This led to my asking myself: How many weeds have taken root in my life? How many things have I let slide or not given my time and attention into that are choking out the Spiritual plants I am trying to grow? How can I tell the difference between a weed and plant when it is so easy to mistake one for the other? Am I watering weeds as I water my plants?
We can choose what seeds we plant in our garden. We can plant seeds of being positive, of love and abundance. We also can plant seeds of negativity, fear and lack. Some of us will even spend time trying to take care of everyone else’s garden. We need to let our work be on making ours garden beautiful and attract other beautiful people.
I love the words from President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Without hard work .. nothing grows but weeds!”
If what we are investing our time and energy into isn’t growing crops of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then we definitely need to look closely to be sure it isn’t a bunch of overgrown weeds we have grown. If it is a weed, we have to be willing to reach down into the dirt and pull it out before it grows and starts choking out the important things we are working so hard to grow.
Just like the weeds that I ended up watering along with my plants, the weeds we let grow will begin to choke out the crops in our garden that we want to grow in our lives. I have let some weeds grow in my garden and in my life that need to be effectively dealt with … immediately.
Spiritual weeds don’t start out looking like weeds! When they begin stealing the time and attention away from the Plan of Happiness that our Heavenly Father has for our lives, it becomes easier to see them for the weeds that they are. Sadly, it doesn’t take much for Satan to plant his weeds in our minds. He knows our weaknesses and sends out small thoughts or attitudes for us to deal with. I think we all could benefit from being a little more aware of what we are watering and tending in our lives.
In Matthew 13 Jesus tells his disciples the Parable of the Sower, and uses the image of weeds to explain how daily life can interrupt our faith.
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – Matthew 13:22
If we let daily weed problems overwhelm us, our faith will wither and die, or if we allow ourselves to get too comfortable in our faith, we’ll end up stunting our growth.
So this week I challenge you to do two things: First take an inventory of the weeds in your lives. Secondly, you must perform a “weedectomy” on them. No two of us have exactly the same weeds. For some people, things are weeds that barely bother others. However, we all have weeds in the garden of our heart that can and will crush out faith and spiritual welfare if we let them grow. If we want to be the disciples Heavenly Father calls us to be, one of the first things we must do is cut the weeds out of our lives or burn them to the ground so that they no longer choke our faith.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some weeding and watering that I need to do in my own garden. I waste my time on too many unimportant things and have many different kind and size weeds. I want a good harvest. Would you like to join me?