Dealing with the Weeds
And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
I lived a very happy childhood. I grew up in a close family, with God believing parents, who taught me to fear God as well. However, there are two things that I look back on in my early years and have mostly bad recollections of. The pottery and yard work. The pottery was a place where children were found trailing behind their parents, many on a leash, while their parents looked at wreaths, picture frames, some pottery, and other such things that were of absolutely no significance to a child of any age. [On a side note, I was never a leash kid and I have a desire to take scissors and set those children free like Moses and the Israelites in the Exodus]. We would walk through a series of warehouses for what seemed like days and most of the time we would come away with nothing to show for it. The one redeeming factor of the Pottery is that around the corner was a Go-Kart place and “if we were good” we would usually go after a day of shopping. Whether this was bribery for a day of peace for my parents or an attempt to deter a mutiny, I’m not sure.
Since yard work is my second bad memory, it makes this type of parable hard to relate to for me. I am a little jaded and yard work analogies brings me back to a place that I’d rather not go back to. I have vivid memories of my dad cutting down trees with my grandpa at the bottom pushing as if the amount of force he was exerting would really make a big difference. I also remember said tree crashing down on our playhouse as my grandpa ran for his life. However, as I read through this parable, I came to a revelation about sowing seeds as a youth pastor, parent, or someone with any type of leadership in a student’s life. The fact is that sometimes we have to do yard work not for our sake, but for our students’ sake.
I don’t want to attack the sower here, but when he planted seed, he seems a little haphazard. The fact is that as a sower, wouldn’t you want to make sure all of your seed was planted in the good soil so that you could reap the best possible reward? I know that seeds can escape you but you want the most yield in order to get the most reward. Also, as someone who sows seed, you have to prepare the ground in order to have a plant seed that I going to get you benefits.
Alicia and I recently went through and completely overhauled the weeds in our mulch beds. For a good part of 3 hours we just pulled weeds. That didn’t include mowing the lawn afterward, just pulling the weeds. However, just like we take the time to pull weeds out of our yard, we need to pull the weeds in and around our students’ lives so that they won’t be choked out by the thorns or the world. Jesus points out that some seeds are planted on the rocks, and these are the students who have no root system whatsoever. When the storms of life come, these seeds don’t last. These seeds have no depth and whither away. My first warning, is that we cannot just build shallow students but deep students who will not wither at the first sign of trial.
The second seed is planted in the weeds and when the thorns of the world shoot up, the seed is choked out faster than an MMA fighter. We cannot sit and try to pull every weed around our student because we will miss some roots here and there, and the weed will end up sprouting again and again and eventually we won’t be there to pull it for them. However, if we first clear the soil as best we can and then teach our students how to maintain it, our students will be much more successful than they ever thought they could be. The second warning is that we can’t just try shelter our seeds and pull every weed and obstruction that is in their way, but we can prepare them for the weeds that can pop up in life.
The last seed is planted in good soil and this seed flourishes. There is no warning here. The only real word I have for the good seed is to seize the opportunities that you are given to plant a seed in the good soil. Seize the teachable moments, seize the times of questioning, and seize the moments when your students are still willing to listen. There is a quote from the movie “Hook” that I want to share with you.
We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast Peter. It’s a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.
Seize your opportunities to plant seeds in good soil. We have influence in students lives but we have to be careful where we are planting, train students to pull out the weeds in their lives, and seize the opportunities to plant seeds in good soil, while we still have those good opportunities.
Yard work may be painful and it may leave scars, but the resulting reward is well worth the effort that we put into it.\
Posted on September 19, 2011, in Leadership and tagged Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Family Ministry, Leadership, Pastor, Religion, Student Ministry, Weeds, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.