Monday, May 30, 2011

Ignoring the Weeds

A few years ago, after we finished remodeling the house, we had the yard professionally landscaped.  We removed some trees, added a stone patio with an outdoor fireplace, had all of the foundation plants replaced, and finished it off with new sod in the front and back yards.  The project was completed in the fall, and it looked great.  For the next year, we contracted with the landscaper to maintain the yard, and I enjoyed being free from the duties of regular lawn maintenance while I was busy at work.

After the landscape contract expired, I decided I had the time to maintain the yard on my own.  I enjoy mowing and trimming and keeping the lawn fertilized.  I like to see the results of my efforts and to receive compliments on how great the yard looks.  But we have several sweet gum trees that have proved to be nuisance every spring.  They drop the sweet gum balls all over the yard, and then little green seedlings start popping up everywhere.  They show up in the planting beds and in the grass, and the pre-emergent treatment for weeds are ineffective in stopping them. 

As much as I enjoy the mowing and the trimming, I hate pulling weeds.  It’s tedious work crawling around all over the planting beds and the back yard pulling up the little seedlings.  So I put it off every spring and ignore the weeds as long as I can.  I mow and edge the lawn, and it looks great, as long as you don’t get too close.  But when you walk near the planting beds, you can see the green leafy seedlings sprouting everywhere, and the yard that looks beautiful from the street suddenly doesn’t look as beautiful.  The plants look great, but the appearance of weeds detracts from their beauty.

I finally got tired of ignoring the weeds, and pulled them up this morning.  Now I have more work to do, trimming plants and putting down new pine straw and mulch to make it look fresh and clean again.

Over the past couple of weeks, as I grew tired of seeing the weeds and looking at the planting areas that need to be refreshed, I started thinking about how we often ignore the “weeds” that spring up in our lives.  They often seem so small that they’re just an annoyance.  If nobody looks too closely at us, we can look great from a distance.  But if someone gets too close, the weeds are visible.  If we continue to let them grow, they can take over our lives, and we lose the beauty of our relationship with Jesus. 

This is relevant for me as I prepare to go to Guatemala in a few weeks.  I can be a much better witness for Christ if I’ve dealt with the weeds, whatever they may be.  It’s time to start pulling out the weeds.

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  I Timothy 1:5 ESV

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