Planting in the weeds

The bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich was absolutely delicious. The thing that probably made it taste especially good was the fact that most of my tomato plants had just been planted last week. No, they didn’t bear tomatoes that quickly! I had purchased one large plant in April and put it directly into the garden among the weeds.

Too much was happening this spring, and the regular chores were…well…a little behind. That included tilling up the tomato beds.

The pathways in the “back forty” (forty feet, that is), being relatively hidden from view, are mulched with old flower stalks. The seeds sprouting as a result of this method usually are eradicated early on, but not this year.

And so it happened that the vegetable garden turned into a wildflower field by the end of May, with one lone tomato plant at the back end of it.

It was not an ideal plan — putting a tomato plant into such a mess — but I was worried about taking too long for the prep work and not having enough time to actually plant my vegetables. My fears were not unfounded! I hadn’t even sown my heirloom tomato seeds until late May. The zucchini I planted at the same time didn’t sprout, so it was already July by the time I bought new seeds.

Clearly there needs to be some adjustment in my garden for the conditions that are outside “normal” gardening techniques. Hence my new strategy of planting in the weeds.

This week has shown me that there are just too many “weeds” in the world. We can spend our time and effort hacking away at the problems that society faces, or we can try to plant the seeds of the Kingdom anyway. Sure, it’s frustrating. In an ideal world there would not be so much competition for the good seeds. But this is not an ideal world, is it?

Don’t get me wrong. I am certainly not advocating the cessation of weeding chores altogether. There is a time to do that, to be sure. If we never pull out the weeds at all, the desirable plants never get a chance to grow at all! If we don’t teach the truth, who will?

When Christianity seems to be strangled out with one law after another, however, there is a strong tendency to right some of the wrongs, and to root out sin where it seems to be rampantly flourishing. This could leave us with a blank piece of ground, but nothing growing. There will be no fruit in the form of souls saved if we are too busy eradicating the undesirable elements of modern thinking. There just isn’t enough time for both sometimes.

We are instructed by God to influence the world with our example and teaching. But that’s certainly not our only job. My weakness has always been to spend too long “preparing the soil” and not enough time planting the good seed or transplanting the things that really matter.

I must admit that I have been so shocked and dismayed with the plants that are obviously bad for the garden that I haven’t been planting as much as I should. Yes, I do mean spiritually as well as in the yard!

It isn’t easy to wade through the tangled mess that we’ve witnessed recently, but we must be planting, too.

As we survey the weed patch that this world is becoming, may we choose and prioritize our tasks wisely.

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