All through junior and senior high, one of my chores was to keep the two, long, dichondra parkways weed-free.
Dichondra is fragile. I had to be gentle, so I didn’t hurt the grass while still getting the root of each weed. But no matter how carefully I worked to get out the root, I had to weed those parkways over and over again.
And they kept coming back.
I finally got to stop worrying about the weeds when I started college. Goodbye dichondra; hello a parkway full of weeds, just like every other house on the block.
Now I have a different kind of weed problem. Weeds of pride, bitterness, and resentment that grow in the soil of my fragile heart.
Pride that my way is fantastic. My way in a long list of things I am proud I do well: in how I keep my house clean (even though I work), spend time in His Word, keep up with new research in my field of teaching, accomplish so many things each day, send encouragement cards to people, and on and on and on.
Bitterness and resentment that others aren’t nearly impressed with what I do as I am. They keep pointing out the flaws in all of the things in which I take such pride.
Just like the weeds in my parents’ lawn, no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of these weeds. I try, over and over, but they keep springing back up.
How do I get rid of them?
The only way to have a weed-free garden is to admit who the true gardener, the vine, and the branch are.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
God is my gardener. He doesn’t want me to plan my own garden. Or weed it. When I try to deal with the ugliness of my weeds on my own, I stop growing. The weeds take over. It’s ugly.
God’s garden will be more beautiful than anything I could dream of. His plan is always for my good. He takes into account my fragile heart, just like I tried to be gentle with the dichondra.
He will make sure what grows in my garden is the best and highest quality.
What is my job, then? Abide, remain, stay, cling to the Vine—Jesus.
John 15: 5-8 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I am getting ready to start a new school year. I want it to be a fruitful one. A year where other teachers, students, and their parents do not see the weeds of pride, bitterness, resentment, or annoyance and impatience.
Instead, they will see the beautiful garden planted and maintained by God: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22)
I pray the Gardener gets the glory. All of it. Because without Him, I’m just a patch of weeds.