I am writing this month's article on the second day of my 7 week Christmas holidays. There are definitely benefits in being a school teacher!
I am also writing this current article on the day of my 19th Wedding Anniversary! Happy anniversary to my lovely wife! Thank you for letting me go for a surf on our anniversary.
I am also writing this having half completed one of the many jobs on my holiday job list...the weeding of the neglected courtyard. With the summer rain and thunderstorms of the past 4 weeks on the Sunshine Coast increasing, an abundance of weeds have accumulated around my house.
These have been allowed to sprout and grow and grow and grow and sprout some more and grow some more. The weeds have been pointed out by wife ("They itch my legs when I hang out the washing.") on numerous occasions over the last 4 weeks and I know it has become a problem when my 6 year old commented on the first day of my holiday, "Dad, you really should do something about those weeds."
I have had a number of approaches over the last 3 years to combat our weed problem:
1. I have ignored them. This has not achieved anything nor will it ever. They are still there when I ignore them. They grow. They get taller. They look ugly and they are a constant reminder of my slackness and lack of will to dispose of them.
2. I have whipper snipped them. There is nothing better than the sound of a whipper snipper in an enclosed area, cutting everything in sight, deafening myself and the whole house and leaving awful petrol fumes to linger for a few hours. The weeds are shorter, it creates a mess that I won't clean up, but also allows the seeds to filter back into the soil once more rain comes.
3. I poison them. It takes about a week to start to kill the weeds and the poison kills them very well. I like this option, but not the thought of spraying chemicals around, having it touch my skin or breathe in. I am not sure what can really happen to the environment with this approach; I am quite haphazard with this approach and sometimes the poison will stray onto things I shouldn't be killing, and the look of a bunch of dead weeds does not look that attractive either.
4. I pull them out. With the amount of rain we get here, to pull them out is quite easy, it is therapeutic, I wind down and relax and it always makes the courtyard look great. No chemicals, no dead, shrivelled plants and no debris. I throw them in the bin never to be seen again. I get the roots as well so hopefully it takes many weeks to regrow. My youngest son again loves helping and gets a great joy feeling like he can destroy something quite legally.
Jesus told an interesting parable to his followers about weeds:
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.
"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'
"'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
"'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"
Weeds and wheat
The weeds and the wheat will grow side by side in our world. The enemy does come to destroy and plant weeds amongst us, whether we see that in our world, but also within our churches. Our reaction is usually to get rid of the weeds straight away. As soon as you see one - get rid of it. In my yard, it is often easier for me to get rid of the weeds and pull them out once they have grown and I can get a good grip on them. It seems that Jesus is saying here to His followers that it is all right for the wheat and the weeds to live side by side. It is inevitable that this will happen. There is a time to get rid of the weeds, but make sure you choose the right time. God will choose the time for the weeds to be burned. It could even be saying that at times we may not even know the difference between the wheat and the weeds. We may not even know what's "good", what's "bad", what is "of God" and what is "not of God".
The church has too often wanted to be the weed puller and not been content to be the wheat. I recall Jesus in the Bible telling His followers to be the light of the world, not the whingers about the darkness. Where can we be wheat for the world? Where can we be examples of wheat and light to the world?
Could it be with my own life that God has allowed weeds to grow in my life, so I can deal with them at His time and His choosing? Are there weeds in my marriage of 19 years that need to be exposed NOW because my wife and I are ready to confront the problems or issues of our past? What have I ignored, trimmed or tried to poison out of my life too soon, but "weeds" have remained deep within the surface and need to be "pulled out", roots and all by God and my wife?
Back to the job list I think...and the weeds on the other side of the house!
Russell Modlin teaches English and Physical Education at a Christian School on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda and they have three children.
Russell Modlin's archive of previous article can be found atwww.pressserviceinternational.org/russell-modlin.html