"Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants...The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature."--Luke 8:7, 14 One patch in our backyard is just plain weeds. One year, the kids bought a bunch of seeds--flowers and vegetables--and spent a lot of time putting them in. We thought about all the pretty flowers and the yummy corn and watermelon in store for us.
But then the reality of weeds hit. Unfortunately, along with the harvest comes weeds too. I know there are probably exceptions to the rule, but most people don't like to weed the garden. It's often a chore delegated to the kids. However, it's a chore that must be done, for weeds that are allowed to grow alongside the rest drains and saps the nutrients that should be directed towards your garden.
In the spiritual arena, this happens too. Sometimes the seed of the Word does end up rooting in the heart and it actually starts to grow. But with it also grows weeds of worry, greed, self-interest, and lust. These weeds can then choke out the life that was begun, stifling it or perhaps even snuffing it out completely.
As a parent, I know all too well that even if I plant the good seed of the Word into the hearts of my children, there are competitors that the enemy sows in there too (see Matt. 13:25 in another parable). Jesus tells us that there is only room for one Master (Matt. 6:24). Unless we offer ourselves to Him as a sacrifice of worship, it will be easy to become conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1, 2).
I personally can attest to the insidiousness of weeds in my own life. Just when I think I've gotten rid of a patch, another one springs up. Or it seems like it's the same one, over and over and over because I didn't get far enough to the root. It is the same for our children.
And so, I keep praying that the Lord will guide me in helping my children know what their weeds are so we can get rid of them by the power that Jesus brings. Sometimes He needs to apply some heavy duty weed-killer for those particularly pesky ones. Sometimes there are some that need daily removal. As I partner with God, I hope that the Lord will help me to identify the weeds in my children's lives and lovingly guide them into removing them. I pray that their hearts will be singularly focused on Him and not infested with other competitors. It's hard work to keep the weeds out, but in the end the fruit of righteousness will then have a chance to grow strong.
That's worth the time weeding, don't you think?
Part 4 of a series: How Does Your Garden Grow?