Every spring, our yard is full of dandelions. Every organic control method we have tried has failed—the dandelions keep coming back with indomitable persistence. The children love to pick them and arrange them in small vases all over our house. I cherish their little bouquets, and I’ve resigned myself to a yellow yard.
We pulled one up to examine its long taproot, marveling at how the dandelion’s design helps it succeed in poor soil, in burning sunlight, with little water—all the places where other plants would fail. What tenacious plants they are! If we actually planted them and gave them a fertilized field in which to take root and spread, they’d take over the world.
The man in today’s parable sowed good seed in his field, but his enemy came and sowed weeds there. (Matthew 13:24-30) Now with all the plants growing up together, it’s impossible to uproot the weeds without damaging the tender wheat. It’s a gardener’s nightmare. Aside from the obvious problem (having an enemy who would do such a thing!), the gardener will be working in a weed-filled field all season, and he will have extra work at harvest time to separate the weeds from the wheat.
Each of us is a fertile field, full of rich soil that’s planted with potential. As we grow, we learn to love, to have faith, to be prudent in our choices, to forgive. Our genetic and spiritual inheritance also includes traits that incline us toward less virtuous growth—jealousy, maybe, or resentment, or self-loathing, or harboring grudges. These are our weeds. Each of us has a unique set, growing up alongside our wheat plants.
What are we to do? No matter how hard we work, the weeds are always sprouting up. Should we become discouraged and give up trying to nurture the wheat? Or resign ourselves to being overtaken by weeds? No. Through prayer and hard work, we can continue to encourage those wheat plants to thrive even among the weeds. We can work to contain the weeds as we put our energy into helping the good plants to grow strong and healthy. In the end, Jesus will separate out those weeds and collect that wheat we have grown for the storehouse. Our wheat helps feed the Kingdom. We might never eradicate the weeds entirely, but the wheat is what really matters in the end.
Focus on the wheat.
Abbey Dupuy is the Assistant Theological Editor for Blessed is She and writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four frequently barefoot children. She muses about imperfect parenting, practicing gratitude, and celebrating the liturgical year with her young family on her blog. In her spare time, she enjoys running, gardening, coffee, and cookbooks, not usually at at the same time. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Virtues study found here.