Christian Articles Archive

Roundup® Straight Up

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Have you ever struggled with star-thistle? Or blackberries? Have you ever tried to clear out blackberries and keep them out? My wife and I are trying to take an overgrown orchard, and get it back to pasture and fruit production again. But we're fighting those thorny plants that tear at you if you get too close. The persistent star-thistle has to be cleared out before we can put horses in the pasture, and one of the pear trees is hopelessly entangled in the blackberry thicket. We've got a job ahead of us.

Jesus was talking to farmers who understood thorns and thistles when he talked to them about the parable of the sower (see Mark 4:1- 20 and Luke 8:14). Four kinds of soils, four kinds of hearts. While all of us want to be the "good soil" that is exceedingly fruitful, we have to keep fighting wild thorns that want to take over our field. Jesus talks about four kinds of thorns.

The worries of this life have a way of occupying our mind and our thoughts. If its not actual depression, its that constant nagging. Now we can't do away with problems, but if we don't respond to problems with faith, the worry will sap all the energy out of our spiritual life. It's either worry or faith, we can't have it both ways.

The deceitfulness of wealth can get us, too. And for us American's, it's so subtle. If we were to invite the average man from Bangladesh or Mexico or China into our living room, I don't think we'd convince him that we weren't wealthy. He would ogle at our VCRs and TVs, our stereos with their compact disc players, and jump when the microwave beeped in the kitchen. We average Americans live better than 90% of the world. And yet we are always striving for more. The car's wearing out, we'll have to get another. Work hard to make the mortgage on the house. And we aren't rich. No. Not us. But our dual-incomes never seem quite enough. And what do we lose? Time and energy to serve Christ with the gifts he's given us. We're just too ragged from our running to support our lifestyle, modest though it may be. Deceitful, isn't it?

The desires for other things are part of it, too. I'm a computer junkie. There's always something new out there. A new 386- accelerator board, or a nifty new upgrade of a software package. And then the shareware that's available to try free of charge. Those are hard temptations to resist. But I'm finding that I just don't have enough time to learn how to use it all, but I'm busy trying. Something new always has that gleam on it.

Life's pleasures are the fourth kind of choking thorn. Skiing weekends, afternoons out on the boat, a long Saturday morning watching Notre Dame struggle on the gridiron with their latest rival. It's great to relax. We need to. But recreation, as enjoyable as it is, can consume our energies and divert our focus, too. As attractive as it is to watch the soaps you taped from 11 am to 2 pm, it takes its toll.

Worries, money, possessions, recreation. Good things all. And there you have it sports fans. The age-old story of how good things are the enemy of the best.

The thing about thorns is that the plant is still alive, peeking up there among the thorns. It can see the light. It may even have a scraggly head of grain it's trying to bring to harvest. The deceptive thing is we don't really see a problem. No problem until we notice that the farmer doesn't even try to harvest the parts of his field that are overgrown with thorns. He concentrates on the plants in the good soil that have devoted their entire energies to the sun and rain and growing and producing. He harvests their heavy heads of grain with a grin and a flourish.

You see, the purpose of grain crops is the harvest, not to grow a scrawny stalk.

There's no way around it. You'll have to attack the blackberries. Take my blackberries? You can't do that! I love blackberries in the warm July evenings. And blackberry pies.

There's only one way to deal with blackberries I'm told. Buy a goat is one. The other is spray them with Roundup®. Not Roundup diluted to garden strength, either. Full strength, my friend says. The only thing that will get rid of those choking thorns is Roundup, straight up.

Copyright © 1985-2016, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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