The Garden


The Garden

The Parable of the Weeds

Matthew 13:24-30
24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27″The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29″ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

When I lived in the country several years ago for a short time, I grew a huge garden. We had lots of land. Not so much the case when living in the City. But I remember those times when I would spend so much time preparing the ground, making sure the area was a good spot for growing, planning out the design of the garden and how tall or wide the plants would grow, and thinking about what month to plant certain things, how long they would take until they were fully ready for the taking, and what kind of meals I would make with the vegetables as well as what bouquet of flowers I would make from the flowers I had planted. It was a great experience to have my own garden after growing up helping my grandfather plant our massive garden each year, helping him with planting, picking and canning our crops, and just enjoying the fruit of the land. So when I had to go it alone, I remember all I had learned from my Grandfather who is no longer with us. There was a lot he taught me, but a lot I had to learn on my own. One of those things was how weeds crept up, little critters would invade and eat the lettuce and cherry tomatoes, and how other little human critters in our household would go out and eat all those cherry tomatoes and strawberries right off the plant before I even had a chance to pick them for that evening’s dinner! These days I have tropical plants and palm trees surrounding my house, and not enough room or the right soil to really grow the kind of garden I used to. But through the years, I realize my life has been just like a garden. And every garden will have unwanted intruders, bugs and parasites, garden thieves, jealous neighbors who try to trample your crop when you’re not looking, and weeds.

I recently came across this parable of the weeds again in the Bible. It’s one that isn’t mentioned so much, or at least in my experience, and it reminded me of things that have happened in my life; relationships that went sour, ill-will that was done against me, good that was withheld from me from people who had the power to extend it, and how I had a “good crop” that I had to keep growing and tending to, despite the fact that enemies were trying to destroy it and me. That’s just what people do to each other sometimes. Sometimes, you have to make a decision to just uproot the weeds and risk the whole crop, or let them be because it will uproot your good crop right along with it. Those have been some of the most painful times I can remember in my life – trying to stick it out and believe the best in someone, even though you know they don’t want to see you prosper, want to take some of your best fruit out of your garden and claim it was theirs. I have to admit, I’ve struggled with this very thing many times in my life with people because I will go a thousand miles with a person before walking away from a no-win situation. You try to keep the peace, hold out until the last possible moment before admitting out loud that you were taken advantage of, misled, lied to, cheated, and stolen from. You really don’t want to believe it’s true and that people, good “Christian” people, are capable of such things. But it happens. It happens to a lot of good people. These are some of the things that I’ve also come across with others who have been skeptical of the Church, and are not having their own personal relationship with Christ because of these kinds of happenings among “believers”.

When I first decided to put my music “out there” in the music industry after just doing it for no public recognition or career success for most of my life, my first initiation into “the industry” as we call it, was just like the parable of the weeds. I could scrap the whole thing, or use what I had, despite the weeds. Unfortunately, I got involved with people I thought I could trust, but in the end, they did not have my best interest in mind. I got stuck with a production that despite my original instructions, didn’t sound like the style I had set out to record, and was used by other clients of those involved in a manner that I would have never agreed to. I was told one thing at the beginning, then the story changed slightly, until it was a completely different manipulated lie in the end to benefit themselves and I was left with weeds in my good crop. I tried to make the best of it, give people the benefit of the doubt, but I was betrayed deeply and with no apology from the offenders. When I legally tried to make them do the right thing by me, they refused and told me they would use the material with or without my consent and didn’t have to give me any credit at all, even though they would have never had it to begin with if not for me. To this day, I haven’t seen a penny, and they have not honored even their fabricated agreement with me. I had to wait out that season’s crop, use the good that had come of it, and start over with a new season in my life.

I will say, it gave me a lot of songwriting content! And, honestly, although it was extremely disappointing, painful, and relationships were lost, I am better for it and thankful for the experience. I’ve learned “a thing or 2” from it. And that gave me a new start for music I would write from that point on. So I do have to say thank you to the people who deceived me, cheated & used me, manipulated and lied to me, and who still have not even acknowledged that what they did to me was wrong. Thank you. I’ve grown wiser from this experience. It has helped me to learn the lesson that just because someone is labeled “Christian”, is doing ministry, is in a public position, in leadership or authority, or has made their professional bio look like a rose garden, that it is not always the truth. There will come a day when the truth will finally be out. If not on this earth, before our Maker. You can rack up all the credits you want on this earth while we’re here, fool as many people into thinking you are everything you say you are, step on others to get yourself ahead, and plant weeds in their garden. None of this matters in the end. You can sing as many flowery, emotional, gutsy songs as you can belt out and they might even take you to the top. None of it means anything to Him if it’s paved with the weeds you’ve dispersed to others in your life.

Eventually, weeds are dealt with and new gardens are cultivated. You will still have to deal with weeds, bugs, worms, parasites, and unwanted critters. But you will learn how to fend them off better and keep a better eye on your neighbor! And should you have the misfortune of a jealous enemy planting weeds while you’re asleep, just keep in mind…it’s only one season. There will always be next year’s garden. And while they’re busy trying to wreck yours, they’re not tending to their own and losing sleeping hours

 

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