Friday, June 13, 2008

The Gardener and the Weeds

This following testimony was written the Summer of 2003 which I spent volunteering on a produce farm associated with our church.

Working on the farm this summer really started me thinking about plants and weeds and the fruit that they produce. Over the course of this summer, quite a few of our table conversations have been spiritually related. One of those conversations, along with a situation that happened a few days ago, really got the wheels of my brain turning. I’ve been thinking about the weeds that spring up amongst the plants, and their spiritual significance. I think of it this way: my soul is a garden and God is the Master Gardener. All the fruits of the Spirit and natures of God that are being created in me are seeds that have been planted by the Gardener. Over the course of time, various circumstances that God places us in cause the seed to be watered, germinate, and eventually produce fruit.

Mark 4:20, And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

The conversation was the tool that planted the seed in my mind. Mr. A______ began sharing with us one morning during the convention about the fact that God has a pre-ordained timetable for each of us along our journey. Well, of course the devil doesn’t want the situation to happen, so he throws something in our path so that we are diverted and are now traveling on his road instead of God’s. John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Well, now God has to get us back on the right road, so that we can make our missed appointment and get to the next one in time. But on top of all that, God has to help us get rid of whatever seed was planted in our souls during our time on Satan’s road. It is like in Pilgrim’s Progress, when Pilgrim and Hopeful decide to walk on the path that was parallel to the road to the Celestial City. It looked nicer and easier to walk on, and headed in the same direction. Well, the path slowly deviated from the path to the Celestial City and Pilgrim and Hopeful found themselves locked in the dungeon of Giant Despair’s castle. It wasn’t until Pilgrim remembered the Key of Promise that they were able to escape. I am on the path to the Celestial City, and there is a path parallel to the Celestial path. God has set up appointments for me along the way, to free me of the weeds in my soul, so that the seeds can grow. Well, Satan decides to thwart God’s plan and send one of his cohorts into my path and if I allow myself to be diverted, I start walking on the wrong path. This means Satan was able to give me something else to carry around. Satan planted a weed in my soul and if I don’t let the Gardener do His job, the weeds will hide and hinder the good seed and the fruit producing plants in my soul. The second situation happened on Wednesday when I was picking green beans. Most of the bean field has been recently weeded, so it is easy to find the beans. But there are a few spots here and there where the weeds are higher than the bean plants. We were picking along and discussing how we thought the veggies here were so good. One of the girls made a remark about the Garden of Eden and how wonderful the food must have been that grew there. Then we started talking about how Adam named all the plants and that there weren’t any weeds in the Garden. It was soon after that when we reached the weedy part of the field. We plunged into weeds up to my shoulders. Let me tell you, it’s difficult to pick beans in those weeds. For one thing, you have to bend down and search for the plant. Once you find the plant, you have to search for the beans, all the while pushing and pulling weeds out of the way. Once you find the beans, fruit, it is easy to pick. Finding them was the hard part. (If you look closely at the picture on the left, you will see soybeans at the bottom, but you have to look for them.) It was during one time when I was down searching for beans that I thought, “I hope God doesn’t have to search through weeds like this in my soul to find fruit.” When the thought went through my mind, it kind of startled me. Then it got me really thinking and praying. I started repenting and asking God to please weed out my soul because I didn’t want my soul to have weeds like that.Now, as I write, I am remembering a vision that Melissa shared during the meeting on Sunday. In the vision, she opened the door to her soul and there was a normal cleaningman standing outside. She knew it was Jesus. She let Him in; the first room was very clean and presentable. But Jesus went directly to a closed door on one side of the room and asked if He could go in there. The vision went on from there. But that is what I keep thinking about. That’s what it is like in our souls. Part of it is clean, free of weeds and fit to be seen and harvested by the Master Gardener. But other parts are like the bean field, tall weeds blocking, covering the plants and hiding the fruit. The next part of Melissa’s vision involved Jesus going over to the door and asking if He could go in. When she said, “Yes,” Jesus cleaned the room. That’s what we all need to do: open the door and let Christ Jesus into ALL of the rooms in our hearts, allow Him to clean out all the weeds so that the good fruit bearing plants can produce and be used for Him. James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Luke 8: 4-15 "And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit.


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