TEND = to care for or look after; give one’s attention to.
It’s planting time and one of the first steps in caring for the soil is looking at what’s in it. Is something lacking or needing to be taken out? —Tending the soil.
The boys were all busy tending the soil in our garden. Tilling it up, adding peat moss, throwing out rocks and pulling weeds.
In our own lives, we must tend—give our attention to— what we allow to grow in the soil of our hearts and minds. Jesus teaches a whole parable (Matthew 13) on the soil of our hearts and how the condition of the ground effects the seed and life of the plant.
As Christians, we always want to believe we are planting in good soil; allowing God’s Word and Truth to take root in us and see life grow. Sometimes we examine our lives and see no obvious boulder blocking growth so we believe we’re okay. But what about the small things, the weeds that begin small?
All weeds start small…that’s how they creep in. If we woke up one morning and found a large, consuming weed growing in our garden, we would notice and remove it. However, it’s not as easy to spot when the weeds start small and slowly grow, mixed in with the plants. We tend to grow lazy, complacent; focusing on the growth of the good seeds planted… proud we have fruit; ignoring the weeds growing amongst the good.
When little weeds are left —believing they are too small to cause any real damage— they take over; robbing nutrients, sunlight, and water from the good.
So what are the weeds in our lives?
I recently dealt with one that began small but had the potential to break up good roots in my children and myself. Now, some might think it’s not a big deal but to this mother and Believer, the creeping weed grew thistles…and so it had to go.
My hubby was gone for a few days, the weather outside was yucky and our schedule was pretty light. After our little Matt went to bed, my teens and I scanned through Netflix looking for something to pass the time. A show popped up which I had heard rave reviews about so we began watching.
The costumes, props and sets were amazing. Good drama intertwined with humor and drew us in quickly. We would end one show and immediately press play to watch the next in the series.
Not too far in though, certain life choices were being played out through the drama…characters choosing behavior that was ungodly. The show played it as a small deal, and in a short amount of time the situation was “fixed” with either a cover-up, lies or manipulation. This supposedly hurt no one…and the drama continued.
The problem? Life is not a make-believe, directed, drama series. Life is real and choices bring consequences. Consequences that don’t go away quickly or easily. In my line of work, I meet with people where their heart is hurt from choices of their own or choices of another. Families are torn apart. Hurt, betrayal and trust are broken. Cuts go deep and nothing is ever solved in an hours time.
My conscience began eating away at me. As a parent, what am I teaching my children? As a disciple of Christ, is this lifestyle displayed profitable and honoring to Him and His best plan?
I could have told my teens “It’s just a show…just “pretend”. But feeding their mind with the idea that making one’s own self happy without thought of another or what is moral, right and good begins to plant seeds—seeds that sprout false truth. A false truth that poor life choices have no real effect. And covering up issues, lying and manipulating are okay ways to handle situations when problems arise.
A weed…a small weed… inconsequential to some and not really worth pulling or throwing out, but to me, it was more.
- How do I keep myself pliable to His Truth if I turn away from His voice when He speaks?
- How do I see His way if I close my eyes to what He reveals?
- How can I gain wisdom if I become calloused toward His ways?
I faced a delimma…a choice. Do we continue to watch or do we tend— take care of— remove and pull weeds. I’m preparing soil for seeds of faith to grow, so tending was needed…and tending was done.
Paul said it well in Philippians 4:8
Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh…take account of these things…fix your minds on them. ~ Phil. 4:8 (Amplified)
What are your thoughts? How is God growing you?