Photo © bbtomas - fotolia

Photo © bbtomas – fotolia

“Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “
Matthew 13:24­30

Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13 took on a whole new meaning for me one afternoon as I attempted some gardening. The small plot of dirt that runs along the side of my house was rampant with wild mint and prehistoric-­sized fern weeds. It looked like a mini-­jungle ready to take over my house. I planned to pull out everything and start over with new soil and better plants. Armed with a shovel and pruning shears, I cleared out the first half of the garden.

When I started on the second half I noticed that below the layers of vines, just along the ground were scores of small green plants just starting to push out of the dirt. I immediately recognized them as my favorite flower – the lily-­of-­the-­valley. My frenzied pruning took on a new attitude. I couldn’t just rip out everything, I might hurt the lilies! I began to tenderly dig up weeds in order to protect the lilies. My gardening technique took a whole new turn when I was determined to protect the flowers that I loved. I spent twice as long in the hot sun to complete the second half of the garden so that I wouldn’t damage the little flower buds.

The picture of God’s love in Matthew 13 shows more than a gardener’s technique, it describes a Father’s love for his children. The careful gentleness and patience that God displays can only strengthen our trust in him. We can trust that the pruning and pulling He does in our lives is for the eternal benefit of his children. The good gardener wants what is best for his plants, even if that means leaving the weeds to grow and strangle for a time. His love goes even further than that. When the total destruction of his garden was imminent, our good gardener gave his life to protect his plants. We can trust a gardener like that.