Friday, April 27, 2012

Wildflowers in Spring (Spiritual Lessons)

Weeds thrive where there are empty patches.
Spiritual Lessons from wildflowers in Spring.

Weeding is a major part of any gardening hobby. While pedestrians and onlookers enjoy the pretty flowers blooming in Spring, there are much work done on the background that do not appear obvious to the public eye. Weeds!

In British Columbia, the dandelions are commonly found throughout the province. While it is generally considered a weed by many, the petite yellow flowers make it a beautiful landscape in public parks or private gardens. Introduced from Europe, it is said that these flowers open brightly during the day and close during the evening.  I have heard that the flowers even have a medicinal use. As far as the gardener is concerned, these are weeds to be eradicated. The dandelions not only become an eyesore, they consume nutrients meant for the cultivation of other plants.

I wonder if there is something that we can learn from the pervasiveness of the dandelions. I think of at least two lessons: Deep Roots and Vacant Land.

A) Deep Roots

There is a passage in which Jesus teaches us about weeds and the kingdom of God. He says: "Jesus told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared." (Matthew 13:24-26)

Indeed, the weeds appear to just come up on their own. No one in their right mind will be planting weeds. Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is likened to the man planting "good seed." This good seed is like the good work that we do, the gardening that we do. When no one is watching, and when we are sleeping, this is where the weeds start their growth. It is the enemy that plants the bad seeds. Thus, while man works by day, the devil works by night. Both appear at about the same time. The trouble with weeds is that since weeds have deep roots, they are not easily destroyed.

When we try to dig out the weeds, it is not enough simply to remove the flows and the top of the weed. Much digging is required in order to remove the entire weed. Lots of soil needs to be removed in order to reach these deep roots. Another reason why these weeds survive so well is because most people never bother to remove the roots. When this happens, the weeds simply grow back even after the flowers and the leaves are removed.

Remarkably, when asked about the weeds, Jesus prefers not to look at the temporal nature of weeds, but the final judgment instead. The point of the parable is that the weeds will always be around to haunt us. The evil will try to frustrate us in all of our works. Any attempt to get rid of evil is at best temporary. The evil will return. With deep roots, they will come up seasonally. 

B) Vacant Land

Yellow dandelions grow deep roots.
Another reason why weeds thrive is the presence of empty space. Friends have told me about the need to seed the lawn regularly so that there will be minimal vacant space for any unwanted weeds to exist. Grass seeds will fill up whatever available space so that the lawn will be clear of any kinds of weed. Overseeding is recommended. Not only will the lawn be thicker with good grass, it will prevent weeds from coming. If there is no room or nutrients for weeds, they will be crowd out.  Timing is key. Overseeding is recommended for early Spring and late Fall. The latter is best done in late September before the Winter steps in.

This reminds me of Jesus exorcising an evil spirit from a man.

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”(Matthew 12:43-45)

It is not enough to simply be cleansed once and for all. One needs to remain pure throughout. Likewise, a cleared land from weeds is not enough. The land needs to be planted with good seed, otherwise the weeds will return. The good seed is the Word of God.

Are we filling our lives with the Word of God? It is not enough to be cleansed once, and then do nothing. Once we are cleansed, we need to remain vigilant against the evil one, from sowing seeds of evil again.

My friends. Learn from the weeds. Grow deep roots so that our faith continues to grow through all seasons of life, while surviving the hard falls of life. Fill up all vacant parts of our lives with good deeds and good seeds, namely the remembering, the storing, and the practicing of God's Word. For the time will come, that when the Lord appears, may our lives be flowers that bloom when the season has arrived.


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