Our house is surrounded by a plot of semi-controlled weeds which, in our more expansive moments, we refer to as our lawn. As if to relieve the monotony, the green is liberally dotted with bright yellow weeds called dandelions - and we hate dandelions! Conquer At first we painstakingly dug them out, one by one. It soon became evident, however, that our diligence was no match for the vigor of these dandelions. Looking around for a more efficient method of getting rid of the unsightly weeds, we discovered a company that would spray our lawn with a chemical which would take care of them once and for all. We engaged the services of this outfit, and before long there was not one dandelion to be seen anywhere in the vicinity of our house.
But then our neighbors shared with us their concern for the welfare of their children and pets. They feared that our dandelions were not the only things that would feel the effects of the toxic chemicals being applied to the lawn. When we actually looked into the ingredients and their potency, we promptly cancelled our contract for the lawn care service. Predictably, the dandelions returned with fresh vigor.
Then we heard of another lawn treatment company with more respect for the environment. Its representatives told us that if we would permit them to apply their natural, nontoxic nutrients to our grass and would follow their recommendations for caring for the lawn, there was a good chance that the grass would grow with such vigor that it would simply crowd out those hated dandelions and other weeds, which they euphemistically referred to as broad-leaf plants. It sounded reasonable, so we told them to go to work. Admittedly, the nutrients were not as effective in ridding our lawn of dandelions as the chemicals were, but sure enough, in time we began to see fewer and fewer of them in our lawn.
I should mention that dandelions were not the only broad-leaf plants growing along with our grass. We also had quite a crop of violets. But we looked on the violets quite differently than we did the dandelions. We found their dainty flowers with their deep violet color, and their lush, green, rounded leaves most appealing. Sometimes we would even pick a bouquet of them to decorate our dining room table.
Now I know that the fall of man into sin affected all of nature, but I have no reason to believe that members of the plant kingdom entertain the sinful emotions of people, or that they have any means of communicating with one another. Nevertheless, when I thought about the dandelions and the violets in my lawn, I couldn’t resist the notion that the former might well harbor some resentment against the latter.
“You don’t belong in these people’s lawn any more than we do,” I could imagine the dandelions complaining to the violets. “And yet they treat us like common criminals, and there for awhile they even declared chemical warfare against us. All the while they admire you and make bouquets out of you to decorate their house. We’re just as pretty as you. In fact, we’re a bright yellow, not a dull violet like you, and our leaves are beautifully scalloped, not plain like yours; and they are even edible. It’s not fair!”
As I imagined this controversy between the dandelions and violets in my lawn, the substance of it reached my own conscience. I thought of how careful I am to keep myself free from “dandelion sins,” like adultery and thievery and drunkenness, and how disgusted I get when I see these appearing in other people’s lives. But the Lord reminded me that there are other sins in my life that I consider rather attractive. Sometimes I even put them on display and boast about them. Of course, I always do this in a most judicious way, so it doesn’t sound too self-serving or boastful.
I express thanks to the Lord that He has allowed me to steer clear of these open, abhorrent sins that others struggle with. Sometimes on Sunday after the meeting we invite folks over for dinner, and the first thing I know I am savoring what some have called “roast preacher.” This meal consists of expounding on the theological weaknesses of the morning’s message, and displaying my superior knowledge and understanding of things biblical.
When I realized what I was doing, I fell to my knees and asked the Lord to forgive me of my pride, complacency, and smug feelings of superiority. Even as I confessed these sins, it occurred to me that it would be a fruitless task to keep on indulging in them and confessing my repeated failure. Certainly the second lawn care company knew what the real secret was of safely keeping unwanted plants out of lawns – nourishing the good will crowd out the bad.
I now knew the secret of keeping my life free from those sins I loved so well. I would have to give more attention to nourishing my soul on the Word of God – studying it, memorizing it and meditating on it. By this and only this could I ever hope to develop a life of true spiritual vigor, in which sins will have little to no room to thrive – not just the terrible ones, but also the ones that are so attractive, so satisfying.
Thank You Lord, for the dandelions and the violets in my lawn, and what You teach me through them.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org