This year a new book added to my gardening repertoire is an extensive resource about weeds of this area. What amazes me, in my reading of the book, is that there are many weeds that are closely related to useful plants. Bellflowers, lupines, buttercups, and sunflowers are just a few of the plants that are lovely flowers but have sinister cousins in the weed family.
It certainly makes identifying the weeds all the more challenging. The characteristics between the good flower and the weed are highly similar; but always there is something distinctive that shows the weeds true side. Often it isn’t easy to identify the weed until it grows up and even blooms. It makes me grateful for this new book which has clear photographs of these weeds at every stage of their growth. I am glad to gain knowledge in this area as our acreage has a plethora of weeds that I haven’t seen before.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus shares a parable on a similar topic. Jesus tells of a man who sows good seed in his field but an enemy comes in and sows weeds in there as well. The servants’ reaction is to pull up the weeds immediately but the owner deters them. He rightly indicates that it is wise to wait for awhile until the weeds have matured more so they can be more easily identified. In the early stages of growth, the weeds and the wheat look alike and the good are pulled up with the bad.
Jesus tells us this parable to illustrate how believers live in the world alongside the “weeds” or the wicked ones. God doesn’t pluck out the weeds right away, instead He allows believers to grow, as does the wheat, until the last day when the evil ones will be cast into the fire.
Somedays it is hard living in God’s wheat field. Some of the “weeds” look a lot like some of the good plants. But appearances are often deceiving. Upon closer examination it is possible to see that they aren’t a good plant at all, but instead their is some characteristic that determines they are of the godless variety. Sometimes it is easy to get fooled by these masqueraders who closely resemble what is good and right but who truly aren’t.
As a Christian living in a world that has both good and bad, I can only rely on God’s grace and mercy. As God nourishes me through Word and Sacrament, I continue to face the world and all its challenges. Yes, the world will continue at times to appear to have Christian values and virtues, but if we wait, their falseness will show itself. We can trust that God will deal with them and that He will take us to be with Him on that Last Day.
It helps to have a good guidebook to identify the weeds in my garden. It is even more helpful to have God’s guidebook – the Bible – to show us what is right and proper and how to effectively lead the Christian life. Before I had my weed resource book, I was guessing about what to do with certain plants that are appearing on our acreage. Now I can much more effectively determine what is actually weeds. The same is true of Scripture. Without it there are many challenges in determining what is truly right in God’s eyes. But with God’s Holy Word, we have clear material to show us what is indeed truth.