I hate weeds! When I see “pull weeds” on my list of chores, I cringe—‘cause, boy, do we have a lot of ‘em! I think every species of weed God ever created lived on our place. There are a gazillion things I’d rather be doing than spending all day yanking those pesky fun-stealers out of their hard ground.
You know, FUN stuff. Riding my horse and swimming in the pool are at the top of my list. Of course, even watching the paint peel off the walls would be better than this!
I stood, staring at the first weed. A mustard weed… the worst! It looked like a small tree!
“Ah, man, I’m never going to get this thing out!”
I frowned. I stomped up to it, grabbed a hold of the top and pulled… and pulled… and PULLED. Sweat trickled down my face as I put my whole body weight into it (which isn’t much at eight-years-old).
Suddenly the little flowers, stems and all, slid through my fingers like a slick rope, sending me sprawling on my backside. Flopped on my fanny in the dirt, I opened my hand. Yellow petal remnants and green stems were all I had to show for my efforts.
“Hmmmm… that didn’t work. Let’s see… I’ll grab closer to the root!”
I pulled again as hard as I could (except with more grunting and growling). Seriously? The stems and flowers didn’t even come off that time!
My eyes narrowed with a sneaky thought, and I chose the next trick up my sleeve. I’ll just whack it off at the top with a hoe, close to the ground. Then I’ll kick dirt over it!
I stared down that mustard weed like a cowboy at the OK corral. It seemed to be staring back at me just as ornery. Armed with the hoe I stalked up to it. I wielded that hoe like a cavalry sword, standing on my tiptoes to land the death-blow. But the blade bounced right off the rock-hard root. Really??
What do I do? All my fun plans were disappearing like the sun that was slowly sinking behind the hills.
OK, now I was mad. I stormed to my dad.
“Those stupid weeds CANNOT be pulled out!” I whined.
“Why can’t we just leave them?”
The corners of his mouth twitched. No way! Was he trying not to smile?
He cleared his throat and quickly turned away.
“Follow me,” he said.
“We can’t leave the weeds there because the snakes like to use them for a hiding place.”
My eyes grew wide.
He hooked up the garden hose to the faucet beside the barn and dragged it over to the tree-weed. He let the water flow around the root, letting the moisture sink deeply into the hard soil.
I shook my head. “That’s only making a muddy mess, dad,” I said.
After a few minutes, he turned the water off and walked over to that horrid plant. He grabbed the root, jiggled it around, and yanked. That ole thing popped right out of the ground!
I gawked at the miracle.
“You see,” he replied, as he washed the dirt off his hands, “sometimes it takes a bit more effort and help to get the tough roots out.”
“And you can’t ignore them because they’ll never stop growing and spreading until they take over the place.”
“And then there’s the snake hide-out thing,” I said.
He rubbed his chin, deep in thought. “You know, getting rid of these weeds isn’t the only lesson here,” he said.
“Yep. Those weeds are like tough places in our heart—like bad behavior… lying, stealing, gossiping, bullying. The water is like Jesus. When we let him help us, he softens those hard places in our heart, so we give up those bad habits.”
I dug my toe in the dirt. “Or like snatching the TV remote from Sissy’s hand when I wanted to watch my show instead of hers?”
He nodded. “It’s like that mustard weed. The “flowers” are our actions, but they grow out of a strong root. In the case of the TV remote, the root is selfishness.”
My face turned red and I ducked my head. “So Jesus can help me to stop thinking only about me?”
Dad laughed. “Of course, He can. He’s just waiting for you to let Him turn the hose on you.”
Suddenly Dad flung some hose water at me.
“Hey!” I yelped.
We both laughed.
The sun disappeared over the horizon, leaving brilliant streaks of gold and orange as we strolled back to the house.