Power corrupts. We all know this in the world of mankind, but it’s also true in the garden. Some plant species are just too strong and vigorous to be grown beside the weaker. They become “garden thugs,” and they take over.
This has been painfully obvious to us in the last few weeks, after a deadly storm blew through our town. We all learned a new vocabulary word; “Derecho.” This weather system is as powerful as a tornado, but doesn’t last as long. The derecho rearranged our back yard as it took down a 20-year-old peach tree that shaded much of the eastern property line.
There was a tender wildflower in that bed that was special to me, a “Twisted Trillium” rescued many years ago from a building site by my beloved husband. That, along with a few other shade-loving perennials, had to be moved to another shady spot.
Fortunately, there was another area that was shady, but it used to be sunny. Our old tomato garden was taken over by wild dwarf comfrey, black-eyed Susans, showy primrose, and some Jerusalem artichokes, among some more obnoxious plants. Intertwined with the flowers were mock strawberries, Virginia Creeper, wild honeysuckle, and even poison ivy.
The sun-loving perennials would have to be taken out before the shade plants could be rescued from the blazing, relentless sunshine now threatening the flower beds where the peach tree had formerly protected them.
Even the good plants showed no mercy in literally running over the more rare or delicate types of flowers. The lovely Chrysogonum Virginianum could not compete with the Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia Nummularia Aurea). Even the mock strawberry was not as strong in taking over as the Lysimachia ground cover. As lovely as the chartreuse Golden Creeping Jenny is, it was not as valuable as the Chrysogonum, now a rare and protected species in our state.
Both plants like the dappled shade where they grew, but the Lysimachia grew so fast it crowded out the formerly large stand of Chrysogonum, or “Golden Star” as it is commonly known.
That just isn’t right.
Jeremiah had a special warning to those who thought that “might MAKES right.” In other words, he wasn’t going to let the mighty do as they please, just because they can. God spoke through Jeremiah to rebuke those who became drunk with power.
“For the land mourns because of the curse.
The pastures of the wilderness have dried up.
Their course also is evil
And their might is not right” (Jeremiah 23:10b, NASB).
Those who wield authority must not let that power dictate to them what is right and wrong. God is the only one who can do that. As I pulled the Lysimachia out of the beds, all that was left were clods of muddy dirt near the gaping hole where the tree was uprooted. The path became slick with the ensuing rain.
“’For both prophet and priest are polluted;
Even in My house I have found their wickedness,’ declares the Lord.
‘Therefore, they will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it;
For I will bring calamity upon them,
The year of their punishment,’” declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:11,12).
Let us all as church leaders, moms, teachers, and soldiers for Christ keep our priorities straight as we recognize who we serve, and why. May we never run over those in our care – and sometimes in our way – just because we are mighty enough to do so.