I noticed this past week that my backyard had began to resemble a rainforest with all the rapid, tropical growth that had overtaken the space. The weeds were getting big. Seriously, some of them were as big as me. I stood next to them and wondered if they thought it was odd for me to be as big as them, because I, in turn, was thinking the inverse of them.
I know the routine: In the fall and early spring you put down a “pre-emergent” insecticide that kills a spectrum of weeds. Then, when the growing season starts, you put down a “post-emergent” that kills everything else except the grass. Even though I know the routine, I normally fail to provide the routine maintenance that keeps my yard healthy. Those few little steps ensure a pretty lawn, and I normally miss them.
Consequently, every year I get surprised by the weeds. Every year, its the same story: its cold and I’m wearing jackets … all of a sudden my car turns yellow and my snot turns green … not too long after that I notice the weeds. If you don’t get on the weeds before they are full grown, they can be a pain. You have to pull them out, by the roots, because they are much tougher to kill once they start growing.
It’s normally a couple day’s of “reclaiming the surrendered ground” before the yard looks like someone actually lives there and the neighbors stop staring at me.
This Saturday I was pulling the weeds, again, and thought about how following Jesus is a lot like this messy routine. The maintenance of our relationship with Him is simple – talk, listen, and obey. When we’re faithful to that, then it’s easy to remain healthy. The weeds might be there, but they’re easy to pull.
Sometimes, though, we go through periods of time when we neglect the simple routine that provides the maintenance we need. The weeds grow and take root. Once we realize the weeds are even there, its much too late to just simply pull them out – their roots are deep and their size is imposing.
When we wake up from our slumber, and realize how ragged things have gotten, there is one thing left to do: start pulling. There are things worth struggling with, toiling over, and getting through. Perhaps thats what perseverance is all about.
My backyard is, at the moment, free from gigantic weeds. If the weeds were inquisitive as to my plan for them, they are inquiring such no more, since they now lay, collectively, in a pile of compost that smells of bad vegetables and coffee grounds.
Following Jesus should be messy, especially if you’re strong enough to pull the weeds.