Sunday, June 13, 2010
Last week I was weeding a garden and the dislike of all the thistles made me think, and I realized thistles are a lot like something we don't like to talk about as often as we should.
They were all different sizes with different roots, but they all hurt when approached. From afar they didn't do much harm; some of them blended in with the flowers, some produced flowers of their own to match those around it, and some hid underneath everything else. My first thought was that the big thistles that poked out from the flowers were the only ones, so I spent most of my energy and time removing those. However, I soon found that these were only a few of the thistles that crowded the garden. There were many that became part of the flower to first sight. There were also many underneath that were just starting to sprout. I removed all the big ones first, then the ones in the flowers, and considered leaving the small ones because they weren't visible to others. I soon realized that if these weeds were left, they would only grow to be as big as the other ones and it would be a never-ending cycle.
Any idea what this symbolized to me? You guessed it, sin. There are many times in the Bible that sin is compared to weeds, thorns, and thistles. In Luke 8 Jesus tells the parable of the sower, and describes what happens when seeds fall into different types of ground. In verse 7 it says that the thorns choked the plants and killed them. Much like this, sin chokes our lives and ruins all the possibility of bringing forth fruit.
Along with the big thistles with big roots, the weeds that blended into the garden also made a difference. While not easily seen from the outside, they still threaten the lives of those around them. The small thistles also made a large impact, as they were completely secret and hidden to the outside, but if given the opportunity to grow they would kill the lives of plants around them as well. In the same way, small sins may not seem important and we leave them to deal with later, but if we don't take care of them when the thorns are small, they're just going to get harder to remove from our life because the roots take up permanent residence in the garden of our life.
As I was weeding the garden I recalled that many times I don't weed my own life. Would our garden be healthier, happier, more fruitful if we took the time to remove the thistles that are threatening all the good in our lives?