(A SEASON OF NEW GROWTH #9)
Monday, June 21st
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NRSV)
I learned something new about weeds in my gardening research: They aren’t all bad!
In the article, An Ecological Understanding of Weeds | eOrganic, I discovered that “weed growth is a healing response to land disturbance after either natural disaster or human activity leaves the soil vulnerable to erosion or degradation.” Weeds “protect the soil from erosion, replenish organic matter, feed and restore soil life, absorb, conserve, and recycle soluble nutrients that would otherwise leach away, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, restore biodiversity, and provide habitat for insects and animals.”
Weeds are necessary and helpful for the health of our soil.
But the article then describes the problems that arise when weed growth continues unabated in a farm field or garden. A weed in itself is helpful for the soil, but too many weeds will hamper the healthy growth of crops or gardens.
As we think of our own healthy spiritual growth, what might our weeds be? Let’s think of our “weeds” as any of our blessings that may be useful or beneficial but – if left to grow unabated – can inhibit or prevent our best growth. We have been given a beautiful world to enjoy and steward. We have been given earthly treasures that are beneficial and even necessary. I believe God delights in our pleasure and enjoyment of the treasures we have received. But, as Jesus says in Matthew 6, troubles arise when we “store up” these treasures for ourselves. The gifts we have been given can turn into weeds when we make them our sole priority and focus.
The article notes several ways weeds will cause problems, and these relate to the weeds in our lives as well. When weeds become too abundant they begin:
Competing directly for light, nutrients, moisture, and space… Is the career we have been graciously given now requiring so much time and energy that we neglect our time with God? Are we distracted from God’s present goodness while we worry about our responsibilities or possessions?
Physically hindering crop growth and development… Have we become so focused on success that we have lost the joy of the work itself? Are we comparing ourselves with others more than discovering how God has uniquely equipped us?
Hosting pests or pathogens that may attack crops… Has our pursuit of material goods added to our financial stress and strain? How would simplifying our lives free up more time and space for rest and replenishment? Do we envy or copy what others have or do, rather than enjoy and appreciate our special lives?
Interfering with or contaminating crop harvest… Are the crops of our success riddled with broken relationships or frustrations? Are we able to yield truly abundant fruit or are we settling for “good enough” because we have been overwhelmed and depleted for so long?
Today is our day for a “weed review.” What gifts have become weeds in our lives? What will help provide more time and energy for our relationships with God and our dear ones? Where might we reduce our supply, release our pursuit, or relish what we already have?
As we learn to weed where needed, may we discover new growth in our ways, but also new joy for our days.