In this most fertile area, where our farmers produce crops that help feed the world, keeping out unwanted plants (WEEDS!) is a challenge. My definition of a weed is a plant that is not welcome where it is growing - for instance, volunteer corn in a soybean field.
As I walked by the little flower beds near the front of our church, yesterday I noticed two plants that might be considered weeds. One was a giant ragweed plant and the other a milk weed. Selective weeding would remove the giant ragweed – which contributes to hay fever. We will NOT remove the milk weed, which is the habitat for monarch butterflies. The monarch butterfly has just been placed on the Endangered Species List, due to declining habitat.
I can envision Jesus using our little flower bed as a teaching moment. There are many instances where the word “weed” is used both in the Old Testament, as well as in the Gospels. In Matthew’s Gospel, 13th chapter, Jesus says, “but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun …”
I like that illustration. I prefer to rejoice every time I see a milk weed, rather than wringing my hands and worrying about the monarch’s demise. I do observe, however, there are many other worries to which I give a lot of attention – way too much attention!
Jesus is calling all of us to turn our attention to God’s words of grace and guidance. Being loved by the God who gives us life is the beginning of knowing how to live. It takes a conscious effort to focus our attention on God’s leading – I call that SELECTIVE WEEDING.
Pastor Betsey Sue serves at West Liberty United Methodist Church.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org