When I was very young my punishment or chores, depending on how you viewed the task, was to pull weeds in our large Oakland yard. I hated the task. It represented a waste of time and seemed hopeless in light of all the weeds that would come up the following week.

I never figured out how my sister escaped this task. I suppose my parents figured it was one of those things only guys would appreciate.

Today after eight months of a very challenging ministry schedule, I find myself caught up in the task of pulling weeds. When you live in the countryside of North Idaho there are a great deal of weeds that can accumulate on five acres of land.

My wife often tells me I’m still trying to maintain a “park-like feel” to our property. As I write this, I’ve taken a break from my chores and have taught her the benefits of pushing our “weed and feed” fertilizer spreader as a way to keep up her exercise program and to help me fight the battle against the weeds.

All this helps me appreciate a recent email from a friend. Perhaps weeding can take on a new meaning for both of us.

Pulling Weeds and Planting Seeds

“Behold, the sower went out to sow…And other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.” – Mark 4:3,7

Maybe you’ve experienced the hope of planting a new garden or lawn. You had a snapshot in your mind of what it would look like-high expectations of vegetable-laden plants or of your neighbor looking enviously at your lush, green lawn.

But you discovered that good gardens and thick, carpet-like lawns don’t grow naturally. Weeds do.

Pulling weeds and planting seeds. It’s the story of life. We are individual lots on which either weeds of selfishness or the fruit of the Holy Spirit grow and flourish. Jesus warned that the soil of our hearts is the most valuable acreage on planet earth.

In Mark 4, Jesus taught the parable of the soils to His disciples. Christ said that spiritual fruitfulness or barrenness depends upon the type of soil that receives the seed of God’s Word.

Jesus warned of the choking influence of thorns-three kinds of pesky, prickly weeds that squeeze the life out of fruit-producing seedlings.

The worries of the world, the anxieties of this age, are the first weeds of which Jesus warned. Worry or anxiety means “to be drawn in different directions” or “to be distracted.”

What distracts you? What pulls you in a direction you know is unfruitful? For me it can be busyness. A full schedule of good things that crowds out the best-like time in the morning spent in prayer and the Scripture. I can be distracted by urgent things which could be put off for just a few minutes.

Some people are distracted and worried about what others think about them, preoccupied with pleasing men and gaining their approval. Still others are pulled by their insecurities, trying to find significance in achieving and performing.

Good marriages and families don’t grow naturally-weeds do. That’s why it’s so important that we listen to the words of the Master Gardener, Jesus Christ.

Let’s work on pulling out those weeds of distraction and indifference. My goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to pull out those weeds in my life that are not becoming to the life He wishes me to live.

God Bless and have a great week!

— Dr. James E. Grassi