“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
A couple of weeks ago, we planted a small garden in our backyard with tomatoes, peppers, squash and the like. For many this wouldn’t be a big deal, but neither my wife Jocelyn nor I have ever been known to have green thumbs.
I’ve been dutifully watching the plants during the past few weeks. It’s been impressive how slowly they grow.
Yet, despite how slowly I perceive these new plants are growing, there is something growing at an extremely rapid pace –the weeds.
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I find it mind boggling there is nothing one morning and the next there is a full-blown plant that looks like something transplanted from a prehistoric era. I yank, pull and hack, and finally pry this thing from the ground. How is this even possible? If my tomatoes plants would grow at the same rate, I am convinced there wouldn’t be a world hunger problem.
Yet, this is the way this fallen and broken world works. It takes a long time and a great deal of effort to produce anything good. On the other hand, it doesn’t take much time at all for anything bad to come into our lives and take root.
Our Scripture is a proverb of great wisdom that instructs the student to guard their hearts, for the heart is the wellspring of life. Many of us are aware of how quickly a seed of bitterness, envy, anger, lust or greed can sprout and grow to become destructive in our lives. These weeds grow rapidly, often setting in deep roots that don’t want to let go. The essence of the proverb is to make sure nothing gets planted in your heart that shouldn’t be there.
The Apostle Paul provides this insight to the church to serve as weed control. In Philippians 4:8, he writes, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
Paul instructs the church to guard the heart and plant good seeds. Yes, they take longer to grow, but the fruit is so much better.
I invite you to take a moment and do a quick weed check of your heart. Is there anything sprouting that needs to be hacked and uprooted? Set yourself in the hands of the Master Gardener who knows what you need to deal with the root of the weed. Allow Him to prune and pull and take out whatever doesn’t belong there and is preventing better things from growing.
Once you have checked for weeds, to nurture the good stuff growing in your life. Take time to enrich the soil through reading Scripture. Quench your thirst from the springs of Living Water. Simply stand in the Son in prayer.
These things are promised to produce fruit. It will take time, but in the end the abundance there will be at the harvest.
The Rev. Jason Everson is pastor of Good Samaritan UMC in Lake Wylie. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.