AUGUST 31, 2018

Pulling Weeds

Dear Church,

One of the great beauties of the Bible is that it has the uncanny ability to never cease bearing wisdom in our lives.  In fact, a great mistake that can be made when reading the Bible is to think that we have somehow “figured out what the meaning is” of a certain passage.  This assumes there is only one meaning to a passage in the Bible.  I’m not so sure.  Take the parables for example.  Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus spoke in these seemingly cryptic riddles in hopes of not only expanding His follower’s intellectual understanding of His coming Kingdom, but also so that His listeners would respond in action and those actions can take a lot of different forms!

Take for example the parable of the sower which I preached on this past Sunday.  Hopefully, you remember I made the point about the kind of soil where thorns and weeds grow in and how it is often easier to pull weeds when they are smaller. I was trying to make the point that the thorns and weeds of our lives are far easier dealt with when they are smaller than if we wait until they are bigger when they will likely cause a lot of damage in our lives.  Well, after church I was in a conversation with one of you and the Holy Spirit was working in a different direction.  One of you shared with me how often when we pull weeds, we need to make sure to get the roots of the weeds, otherwise the weed will grow right back in a matter of days. Of course, this is true.  We all have been on weed pulling duty and have had a fist full of weeds in our hands and have tried to do the twist and pull at the same time to get them out and all that happens is we end up with a fist full of leafy, ugly, green weeds.  We haven’t touched the root.  It’s deflating.  We know the weed will be back right back after a good rain.

I thought this was a brilliant preaching point, one that I should have included in my sermon.  Friends, we all have weeds and thorns in our lives.  Ugly things that grow up right along the good things in our lives.  Remember, weeds and thorns like good soil too.  So, we all have at least a few weeds that need to be pulled.  And even if we find ourselves waiting until that weed is bigger, we need to pull it from the root.  We need to get at the core of it.  We need to deal with it completely.  Deep down, I think we know this.  Deep down, I think we know when we’re pulling weeds from the roots or just pulling the leafy garbage.  Deep down, I think we know that if we want a cleaner soil, we need to get at the roots. 

Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to pulling weeds and the weeds of our lives, it’s far easier to just pull the greenery.  We don’t have to get our hands dirty.  It takes leverage and strength to get at the root. And when it comes to the weeds of our lives, it’s far easier to give half measures.  Keep saying, “I’m sorry” for the same faults over and over and over again.  Have one or two “good days” and then quickly fall back into bad habits of the heart. We may look good on the surface and portray a good image to others, but when we’re alone or with those we’re close to we can be someone different.  This is avoiding pulling the roots.  

There’s a wonderful line in C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.  He writes, “The Christian way is different: harder and easier.  Christ says, ‘Give me All.  I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work.  I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it.  No half-measures are any good.”  

Maybe today is a good opportunity for you to think of the weeds of your life.  And as you think of those things, are you willing to pull them out by the root? Whatever it takes – confession, accountability, a 12-step program, seeing a good therapist, whatever it might take.  Are you willing to get your hands dirty and yank those weeds out by the roots?

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Matt