No matter how hard I try, every time I plant my flowers and vegetable plants, I get weeds growing in them not long afterwards. I try to pull them by hand or use weed killer, but I’m usually not very successful. If I’m not careful, I pull out a flower or vegetable by mistake or get the week killer on my good plants. Neither one seems to be a perfect solution. I have found that sometimes, it’s just best to leave the weeds alone until it comes time to harvest my garden. Then I can separate the weeds from the good plants easier and throw the weeds in the trash at that time.
One day, Jesus told a story (a parable) about a similar situation. He compared the church to a garden that was infested with weeds. (You can read or have someone read to you the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 of the Bible.) He said, sometimes there are “weedy” people in the church. These are people that don’t really belong there because they don’t truly believe what the Bible teaches; they don’t really love each other; and they just try to cause problems within the church. One might think we need to “pull” them out from the church, but we have to be very careful about trying to remove such people from the church. Jesus explained through this story, it is not our job to judge people’s hearts. That will be His job. Just like me trying to weed my garden, we often do more harm than good. We might pull the good plants / good people by mistake without realizing it. God wants us to concentrate on our own lives and hearts and do the things that He wants US to do to be good Christians first and foremost.
God will separate these “weedy” people from the good people when He returns. We shouldn’t take matters into our own hands, but let our Heavenly Father be that sort of gardener by Himself. In the meantime, we can always pray for them and sprinkle them with the “fertilizer” of love.
Let’s pray. Father God, thank You for being our “church gardener.” You take that responsibility from us, so we don’t have to judge or worry about figuring all of it out. We only have to do the best we can at loving You and others. Please help us to be Your good and fruitful plants in the garden of life. Bless all those who are sick and help our nation to heal. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.