The other day I was outside with my 17-month–old foster daughter and I noticed along with all the other varieties of weeds in my yard, back again are those pesky stick tights, officially knownas Harpagonella. I hate them. They latch on to socks, shoes, clothing and skin and you literally have to pull them off one by one. Ugh!
When we bought our home 25 years ago there was a lovely, thick thatch of St. Augustine grass. St. Augustine requires diligent, intentional care. It doesn’t just happen or thrive on its own. When we bought our home, we discovered the sprinkler system was inoperable. It wasn’t just a timer or one broken line, the whole system needed replacing. We couldn’t afford that! So, we utilized forced labor from our adolescent boys to drag hoses with sprinkler’s around the yard to make sure our precious St. Augustine got the water it needed. It wasn’t long before we realized that our grass also required nutrition and an occasional dose of “anti bug otic” in the form of pesticides. Yikes, pretty grass is labor and cost intensive. For the first decade of owning our home we diligently prioritized and cared for our lawn. Then we had a major setback, a fungus of epic resilience invaded our grass. The lawn “doctors” came out weekly for house visits, trying everything they had in their arsenal to defeat the foul fungus. Finally….we gave up. We quit. The boys had left home, my husband grew weary of setting up sprinklers while under attack from seasonal allergies, the monthly expense of the “home health care” from our lawn maintenance crew seemed not a worthy expenditure. We threw in towel and the only thing our previously precious St. Augustine received was an occasional trim.
At first, our lack of diligence didn’t seem that bad. Sure, we had a few of those random weeds growing up in our yard, but some of them had pretty flowers on them. The fungus killed parts of our yard, but eventually the lack of rain and water eliminated the fungus. There was still a considerable amount of healthy grass left, maybe it would rally on its own. However, the following year there was less of that healthy grass. And the next year, you guessed it…less. This should not have surprised us. Beyond basic horticultural facts is the overarching truth that “things of quality and value require care.”
In fact, the Bible is replete with instructions from the Old to the New Testament about taking care and being careful. Deuteronomy 7:11 says, “. . . take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today.” Exodus 23:16, “Be careful to do everything I have said to you.” Ephesians 5:15, “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise,” And in Luke 21:34, specific instructions, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.”Finally, Hebrews 2:1, “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
We didn’t have to do anything to get weeds in our yard, we just did nothing to prevent them. The same might be said about our Christian life, all we have to do in order to drift, to lose our first love for Jesus (Revelation 2:4), or to produce weeds instead of fruit, is NOTHING. Don’t guard your heart. Don’t work out your salvation with fear or trembling (Philippians 2:12). Don’t deny yourself or take up your cross (Luke 9:23). Just sit in your house of worship each week.Don’t respond when they ask for a volunteer to teach the 3–year–old class or someone to help cook for the homeless. Enjoy church, sing a few praise songs and plug your ears when they talk about serving. Hang with your Christian friends and fellowship. Don’t study your Bible daily or pray earnestly for ways to love the unsaved around you. Just sit back, relax and watch the weeds grow.
But if you hate weeds as I do, both in your yard and in your soul, take care.
1 Timothy 6:11-12
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.