Weeding: Soil or Soul, it’s Needful

flowers in the snow

Is it Spring YET?

It’s gardening season at last!

I know, some of you have long ago tilled and mulched, your veggies are well up and your flowers are blooming to beat the band. But here in Indiana, Spring couldn’t make up its mind whether to arrive with all its baggage, or to stay in the Bahamas for another month. We had our last frost on May 14th, we’re getting some much-needed rain now…and it’s time to get going!

Who am I kidding? Between the granddaughter and the theater season, I couldn’t have begun even a day sooner than I did. As of Saturday, our front beds are weed-free and mulched at last; tomorrow morning I’m donning my armor and going to do battle with the evil giant thistles in the back gardens. Sometimes I feel like Hercules fighting the Hydra…the noxious things seem to grow back double for every one I kill.

Thinking about unwanted plants reminds me of a post on weeding that I wrote in June of 2009 (over at Winnowing)…here it is again, a cautionary tale on more than one level.


It looks so innocent...

It looks so innocent…

My inventory of garden issues begins and ends with this:  weed, weed, weed. It doesn’t matter whether it floated in on the wind, or whether I deliberately planted it…if it’s gotten out of hand, it has to go. One of my worst mistakes required two and a half hours in the garden this morning.  I’ve left the houttuynia too long unattended, like a young child in a library, and it’s gotten into mischief.

Digging, digging, digging, sifting tough white roots…it was such a pretty plant, its furled, pointed leaves mottled with light and dark green and vivid red. It had a sweet little white flower in spring, and a pungent, clean smell when cut. I was warned that it could be invasive…but I didn’t listen.

It was just so pretty.

Now I’m less enchanted with it, as it insinuates itself amongst the coral bells and the new white rose bush, creeps under the pavers and comes up in entirely new and inappropriate places.  I’m feeling ruthless–dig it up, root it out, cover the whole area with black plastic and thick mulch.  Pray it dies, and keep an eye open for any little starts.  Be diligent.

[*2013 update:  it’s still lurking, and I still have to pull it up every time I see a sprout…]

dandelionMy spiritual inventory sounds similar sometimes:  Allow a little inattention and a harmless hobby becomes a time-wasting compulsion. Attractive-looking thoughts take root and multiply, inserting themselves where they don’t belong, getting bigger and uglier all the time.

Dig it up, root it out, smother it.

Heed the warning, be diligent.

I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. Proverbs 24: 30-31

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:4-6

2 responses to “Weeding: Soil or Soul, it’s Needful

  1. livinrightinpgh


    I harken back to my comment to you the other day that, while we do not work FOR our salvation, we most certainly work OUT our salvation, through faith, each and every day. Be diligent. Be vigilant. In Faith.

    Ephesians 6:18 (NIV) tell us: (emphasis on ALERT)
    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.


    I Peter 5:8 (NIV) (again, emphasis on ALERT)
    Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

    May you experience a daily filling of the Spirit of God….

  2. godsbooklover

    Thank you, PGH. Indeed we must endeavor not to be “Asleep in the Light” as Keith Green said. Not only are we working out our salvation, but doing the work that God has prepared for us (Eph 2:10). God bless the work!

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