Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weeds and Wildflowers

Today's passage:  John 15:1-10
     I have mentioned before that I had been doing more gardening this year than in years past (How Does My Garden Grow?).  I had weeded most of my flower beds, sown some perennial wildflower mix, watered and was waiting to see what would grow.  Pretty soon, shoots were appearing, only I couldn't be sure if the shoots were for the seed I had sown or for the weeds that had already been residing in the soil.  We went on vacation for three weeks, and when I returned, all of the beds I had labored over were lush with wildflowers and weeds.  So I  started the process over.  My biggest problem?  I couldn't really tell what was weed and what was wildflower.  Some of the weeds I recognized right away.  I know dandelion stems and leaves and promptly removed those.  I'm pretty familiar with clover so I uprooted that.  The clover was difficult because it entangled itself among the wildflowers. Several wild vines have been growing beneath the fence line (our fence is just basic chain link).  Every year, my neighbor and I pull at the root, chop at it, and every year it continues to grow back and then it takes root in the ground and produces blooms.  The flowers are sometimes pretty but they bring the bumblebees and prevent anything else from growing there.  Something else I've noticed about weeds.  They can have started in a neighbor's yard and as the wind carries the seed, it will transplant itself in other people's yards.  My neighbor and I questioned why the flowers we want to see grow won't do that.  Why is it that the flowers and bushes I want to do well have to be nurtured, watered every day, given the right soil levels, and weeds can grow anywhere whether I want them to or not?  As I was sitting on a stool, pulling these weeds one by one, because I had to be careful not to tear out the wildflowers I had sown, I noticed something else.  My wildflowers had delicate stems and leaves.  If I pulled out a weed that was close to it, sometimes it would uproot with it, or it would lean once the weed next to it had been pulled.  The weeds all had sturdy stems and strong leaves.  Some of the plants had a bud that had not bloomed yet.  Was it weed or wildflower?  How would I know?  I would have to wait for it the flower to open.  I would have to see its fruit.
Garden of Flowers in the Rain--Taken from Standard Bible Readers, Book Two
By Lillie A. Faris, Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
Standard Publishing Company, 1925
     In this chapter Jesus says He is the true vine.  This tells me that there have been other vines that have come before Him that have not been the true vine.  There have been impostors.  There have been weeds passing themselves off as wildflowers.  Jesus tells us that if I am a branch that is not bearing fruit I will be cut off.  Why?  Because nobody can tell what I am.  Nobody will know whether I am from the true vine or an impostor vine unless I produce fruit.  This is different from purging.  Purging is cutting a plant at a key junction so that it can produce more branches.
      Jesus tells me that the way I am to bear fruit is to abide in Him and Him in me.  This is not a partnership.  He is the lifesource.  If the main stem of any plant were to be cut, all the branches attached would die with it.  If a tomato plant lost some branches and they tried to fuse themselves onto a cucumber vine, they would soon die.  Why?  Because the vine did not produce those branches, and they will not produce the right kind of fruit.  Sometimes it might take a little while to recognize branches that are not producing fruit, or branches that have tried to attach themselves to the vine.  When the fruit is produced, they will be recognizable and can then be cast off.  Sometimes fruit looks very similar.  Berries look a lot alike.  A person who has been gardening awhile will know the difference.  If I am reading His Word and abiding in Him, I too will know the difference between the fake vines growing up around me and His Vine.  I will be able to identify those branches that do not belong to the Vine and not be fooled by their fruit.  I shouldn't have to wait for their flowers to bloom to be able to identify them.  If I am abiding, I will know them as soon as they start to branch out.

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