Why Lawn (and Church) Work Doesn’t End

Lawn work stinks. I enjoyed it the first few weeks in our new home; then I bore with it. Now it’s overwhelming. I’ve fought bugs, beetles and brown patches and now I’m ankle deep in the process of figuring out what a weed is: especially when they flower. They’re just so darn pretty. How am I supposed to tell what a real flower is if weeds have just as pretty flowers? I’ll get to nature’s theological (ecclesiological I guess) lesson after I explain myself a bit.

A weed is just an alien plant that thrives in an area because it has no native predators. Some of them are edible (like garlic) and some of them are smokable (like marijuana). Their growth can be aggressive,
sometimes choking the life out of native flora.

No, I’m a stupid a city boy who can’t tell a Dandelion from a Rose. Sure I think Dandelions have a dainty prettiness when they’re in their seeding stage but I don’t think they’re the prettiest weeds I’ve seen. Field
Bindweed
, Horsenettle, Jimson Weed, Multiflora rose and Purple Loosestrife; all gorgeous when flowering!

Native flowers are so picky. You water native flowers too much and they die. Any of the above weeds can grow right next to them, but if you try to pull the weed it kills the flower. Any bugs around, they’ll devour
the flower. Too much sun, flowers will wilt.

Conversely, weeds can thrive in just about any condition. They revel in extreme heat, dig deep during draught, create an intricate root network all year long, thrive off of the same food as all other plants and
survive if you cut them down to size. They can grow is the loosest and shallowest soil, show off in their prettiest finery while your flowers wither and finally take over your whole lawn and garden.

Of course, it reminded me about Jesus’ discussion on wheat and tares—I know, not quite the same. Tares are basically a sort of ryegrass that looks just like wheat until the ear appears on the wheat proving that the
tares were all show. They have no fruit but unfortunately can’t be removed before harvesting time without killing the wheat.

Now the thing is, Jesus isn’t saying that the tares shouldn’t be identified. He’s saying that 1) the final removal will be taken care of; 2) the final removal will not be done by the servants but by the reapers and 3) the master knows who planted the tares. Paul will later say that we’re to identify those who cause division, rebuke them, discipline them and finally not associate with them—but some of these bad people will rise up and
others you won’t even know until much later. ({{Matt 13:24-30}}; {{1 Tim5:17-25}}; {{Titus 1:13}}; all of {{1 Corinthians}}).

Switching back to weed comparisons, there will be people who profess to be believers (or even actually are believers) but are extremely damaging to the Church. They will stand on the Word, they will thrive where
other believers fail and grow where other believers wither—but they’ll be teaching something so utterly damaging (but pretty) that many will be drawn and find their own growth hindered.

At this point, some reader’s eye is glazing as he (or she) thinks about the damaging doctrine of [whatever group you find disagreement with]. But that’s not my point.

We have to keep doing lawn work. Keep feeding the lawn with the good stuff—the Word of God. Keep mowing, keep plucking, all the while knowing that the final work is done by the Master.

I’m convinced that the visible Church has weeds in its garden that have been growing in its fine surface since Paul’s Day. We can cut some of these weeds down to size, being careful with the faith of the believers
around, understanding that with entrenched roots these weeds will probably grow back stronger than before. That shouldn’t discourage the work but it should make us aware that theologies might be pretty, striking, loud, influential, follow a nice structure and even have Biblical proof; and still not right. We have to dig deep into the Word to get the right nutrients and maybe, with God’s leading, we’ll be able to identify the flowers from the weeds.

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