Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thorny People - Lost in the Weeds

This is a continuation of a series of posts from Phillip Keller’s book “A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit” where Keller describes each type of soil from the parable of the sower in Luke 8:4-15.

The third type of soil which our Lord referred to as being non-productive was thorny ground. Such ground was infested with weeds and thistles. Any garden riddled and choked with noxious plants simply was incapable of fruit production.

Unlike our modern agricultural techniques where all sorts of selective herbicides are used to control weeds in crops, primitive people had only one remedy – clean cultivation of the ground. And this was a nearly impossible task. Thistle seeds could be blown in on the wind from miles away. Wild birds that had fed on berries and brambles could drop their dung on any garden depositing foreign seeds in their droppings. Wild animals and domestic beasts could carry all sorts of burrs and weed seeds in their coats across the countryside.

So there was no such thing as an eternally clean garden. It was only the owner’s constant diligence and care that could guarantee a beautiful and productive piece of ground. And often even then, in spite of his most persistent efforts, the invaders would be present to prevent full fruitage.

Jesus likened some of us to this sort of weed-infested soil. He declared very forthrightly that such a garden was simply unfruitful.

The question which we must therefore ask ourselves is solemn and searching. “What is growing in the Ground of my life?

Putting it another way we might ask, “What takes up the most space in my life? What occupies most of my time and attention? What has gained prime place in my priorities? What is the net result of my living – worthless weeds or fine fruit of eternal value?

And then later, he says:

God made man for Himself, to be His child. He created us with the incredible capacity not only to commune with Him, but to know Him intimately – to be His companions, conformed to His very character. Anyone who devotes his life, time, and attention to any lesser thing, no mater how grand or noble or glamorous, has missed the mark and the whole purpose of living.

To allow myself to be encumbered and enslaved by things is to have the whole ground of my being cluttered and choked with transient values – whereas I could be producing fruit of eternal duration and consequences. A poor exchange indeed.

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