Over the next couple of months we kept checking on the garden and it appeared to be coming along just fine, until one week. In one dreadful week a whole host of weeds had sprouted up in the garden. One church member came over and began to pull the weeds out of the garden. I sent my son out to help and kept nudging my son to pull weeds throughout the week.
The weeds kept growing and started getting worse. We worked out a schedule for church members to rotate working in the garden. It didn't matter. We just couldn't keep up. Now as I write this weeds rule the garden. I went out myself to try and work through the weeds. The tall ones weren't bad, but man the stickers (goat heads) were just more than I could handle. They had moved beyond just blooming and were into full assault mode. Like most good pastors after getting poked one times too many a great spiritual lesson came to mind and I rushed to write it out, also glad to leave the weeds for another day.
As Christians, we are often excited to do the small things that will grow God's Kingdom. We are nice to people, we try and help people in need. You get the point. But sometimes we miss doing the tough boring tasks that help keep new Christians growing. We plant seeds by talking to them about Jesus. We work on getting them to church and into a classroom. But do we spend time investing in their lives? Are we there when temptation hits? Do we condemn and kick them to the curb or do we forgive, sooth, and come up with a plan to help them overcome temptation.
I think many times like weeds temptation enters a church and robs it of its power because we forgot to tend to the garden every day. Not just most days, but every day. We saw the weeds, but they were small so we put it off because we were tired or had something else to do. In my case, my church didn't think about it at first because someone else had always weeded the garden. Are you sitting back expecting someone else to protect your church?
You can protect your church, but you have to have a plan and discipline just like with a garden.
1. Pray with and for each other.
2. Be honest with each other and blunt when necessary.
3. Be available. When temptation hits, wouldn't you rather celebrate victory because you were able to help each other overcome it, or would you rather clean up the mess later?
4. Share the bounty. Share your story and help others set up their own gardens.