What Weeding My Garden Taught Me

Weeds in a garden are annoying. They grow way too fast, sometimes overnight. If left alone, it’s not long before they take over. Then, all the work of tilling, planting, and watering is for nothing.

I try to keep up with our family’s small garden. Each morning, while the ground is still wet, I try to spend half an hour or so picking out the weeds. It’s not much, and some days I get busy with other things and don’t weed the garden at all. If this goes on for more than a few days, I pay for it by having to spend more time getting caught back up.

This morning, I went outside for my usual half-hour weed removal, and I thought to myself how frustrating it is that I can never be totally caught up. Even if I work at it a little each day, there are too many weeds for me to get them all.

As I looked at my garden this morning, it seemed like a good metaphor for life. Though I try each day to do what I can, there are those persistent weeds that keep sprouting up. The most frustrating are my own character flaws and sins. I try to fight them, but it seems like they never fully go away, and it is a daily battle trying to keep them under control.

As I thought about how useless it all feels, another thought came to me. Whether this came from the Holy Spirit or my own mind, I can’t always tell. But the thought was this: “What would the garden look like if you didn’t weed it at all?”

It would be a total mess, and we would be lucky to get anything out of the garden.

Like the weeds in the garden, when I am persistent and daily fight against sin, it’s easier to manage and there is a small “harvest” that comes from these efforts. However, if I let that fight go even for a short time, it isn’t long before things get out of hand, and it takes even more effort to make things right again.

Sometimes we never get rid of the weeds completely. Whether we are talking about our struggles with sin or just the daily challenges of life, things aren’t as futile as they seem. Sometimes we have to think about what life would be like if we didn’t try at all. Sometimes we have to think about what the Lord has done for us rather than become impatient with the work in us that remains to be completed.

Most importantly, we keep going on with our daily struggles to do the small things with patience, because without them there would be nothing but chaos and true futility.

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