July 28, 2021
By Karen Hunt
It’s growing season again. I love having flowers in front of my house. I love picking them out at the store. I love planting them and watering them, but there is one thing I don’t like about them: weeding! Of course, I have to make sure there are no weeds in their area before I plant them, and then afterward I have to be vigilant in making sure their environment stays weed-free. I don’t have a choice. If I don’t weed, then I won’t have any flowers.
The concept of weeding–of making sure that outsiders don’t invade what is good–is so important that Jesus even spoke about it. In one of His best-known parables, Jesus spoke of the importance of having His Word grow in a receptive soil that was free of obstacles. In Mark 4, He told of a farmer sowing his seed. In almost every part of the story, the seed was hindered by the soil from growing to mature plants. In one example, Jesus mentions the problem with weeds, and specifically, thorns.
“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so they did not bear grain.”Mark 4:7 NIV
When Jesus was alone with the disciples, He fully explained the meaning of the parable, including the part about the thorns, “Still others, like the seeds sown among thorns, hear the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19, NIV)
For some reason, that section of the parable always fascinated me, but I was also confused by it. How do thorns apply to me? Then a Bible teacher explained that in our hearts we have all of the aspects of the different soils at different times. I realized that we are responsible for keeping our hearts’ soil receptive to God’s word. It is my responsibility. This means that I have to keep my heart free of thorns by weeding out attitudes that can push out the Word of God. In Mark 4:7, Jesus said the thorns grew up along the seeds, meaning that one time they were small. Often our distractions start small, but we have to be vigilant to take these out before they take over our hearts, leaving no room for God.
So as much as I hate weeding my plants, I have to do it. I also have to weed my heart, looking for distractions, small and big, that can choke out the word that God has for us so that we can be fully fruitful. As Jesus said in Mark 4:20 (NIV), “Others, like seeds sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop–some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Weeding is our responsibility, but it also leads to God’s promise.
Photo Credits: Faye Cornish