Lessons from the Garden - Plant or Weed?


Have you ever looked back over your life and suddenly realized something really ugly about yourself? I have. Several times. I’ve known for some time that I can be a really irritating whiner. I don’t speak in a whiny voice. I’d slap myself. But when I look back on my younger days, and some of them weren’t so far away, I realize that I really did complain a lot. Some of it was just to God, some of it was also to my husband who has the patience of Job with me. And occasionally I whined to my girls or friends. But some of the worst whining I did was on Pinterest. Yep. Before we bought our home, I would pin these lovely garden ideas with a message that read something like this: Sigh…some day…if I ever get a house with a backyard.

How pitiful is that?


my backyard lawn 
I’ve now been in my house with a backyard for over two years. That’s three summers of being off from school. We’ve done a little gardening. Put in some extra palm trees, some crape myrtles and mandevilles, but it’s still looking rather ragged. The lawn looks nice and green with polka dots of yellow. No, not dandelions. There’s this lovely, rich green vine, a yellow flower-producing weed that has taken over what should be grass. It’s actually kind of pretty…if it weren’t a weed. The yard was already like that when we moved in, and we’ve just not made the time or put out the money to have it all pulled up and grass put down.
Closer shot of the vine weed plant
taking over my back lawn.


So half way through this summer DH and I decided we were going to get out there, early before the sun gets to the back of the house, and do some gardening. I was pulling up weeds and stalks of grass that have grown up along the fence from the neighbor’s grassy lawn. It’s kind of a shame to pull up grass when I want it to grow on the rest of the lawn. But it’s straggly and unsightly, and the landscapers can’t seem to reach it with their oversized lawn mowers or weed whackers. As I was pulling up the weeds, I looked over some of them. Some had cute flowers. Some had pretty leaves. But...they were weeds. 

Lacy plant from my yard
When I was in high school, my mother became friends with a family in our church who owned a plant nursery. The gentleman who ran it used to say, there’s no such thing as weeds, just misplaced plants. I used to get a chuckle out of that, but this past Saturday when I was looking at these green bits of God’s creation, I understood what that man meant. Here in south Florida we have a number of plants that also grow in Brazil. Similar climate and all that. I pulled up this one lacy looking “weed”, and looking closer, realized that my mom actually had this in her garden in Sao Paulo when I was growing up. It was a plant, not a weed, and I used to love imagining I was Thumbelina sized and they were my trees. A misplaced plant. Granted, I don’t want it growing up through the pavers on the patio. But I was a little sad about throwing that plant away. And it got me to thinking.

How often do we see or treat people like weeds? When God looks down at the world, He might see people who are not doing what He wants them to do. He sees people living in sin, doing horrible things to each other, committing crimes against humanity. He sees people being complacent about other human beings, or mistreating His world and mocking His name and way. And while He gets angry at sin, I don’t think He sees anyone as weeds. He sees misplaced plants. 

I believe we pay for the mistakes we make, suffer the consequences of our choices. And at some point in time, everyone has a choice. We can choose to follow God and be the right plant in the right garden, bringing joy and pleasure to our Creator and to our fellow human beings. Or we can choose to turn away from him and become weeds in the wrong garden. Sooner or later weeds will be pulled up by the Master Gardener and cast aside or thrown into the fire like the tares in Matthew 13.

So what about you? Are you a weed, a misplaced plant, or are you blooming joyfully in God's garden? Please don’t be a weed. Trust me, I know. I've been there. More than once. It’s so much better (though not always easy, in fact, sometimes it's downright tear jerking difficult!), so much more joyous to be the right plant in the right place. One can find happiness...for a season...in the wrong garden. Happiness comes and goes. True joy, the kind that will get you through the difficult valley times as well as the mountain peaks, is what brings contentment. And that can only come through a life dedicated to God's will. 




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