Especially weed-eaters. It’s a certain sign of spring when I hear the yard crew outside the window of my house, and I can hear the sound of 4 or 5 weed-eater motors revving up like NASCAR racers waiting the start of the race.
There’s nothing quite as empowering to a middle school boy as to be given a weed-eater of his very own. Armed with the machine, safety glasses and an orientation, they come marching across the campus taking on weeds and untrimmed grass like Sherman’s march to the sea.
If there was ever any tentativeness in these weed-eating workers, it all vanishes when they get their first taste of the power of the weed-eater. With a squeeze of the trigger, the power to eliminate weeds replaces the fear of what might happen in using such a dangerous device. Lazy middle school boys are transformed into the scourge of weeds and untidy lawns everywhere.
There is, unfortunately, a not so charming side effect of this transformation. In the ensuing attack on weeds and sidewalk scruffiness of all kinds, most of the other flora and fauna of the campus is put at some risk from overenthusiastic weed warriors.
So in addition to a tidy campus and well attended faculty and staff lawns, there are frequent attacks on flower beds, gardens and much loved decorative hedges and bushes. Small fences are no obstacle to a boy convinced that some stray sprig of wayward grass is attempting to survive the Day of the Weed-eater.
Flowers and other decorative plants are at real risk when the power of a gang of boys go out into the neighborhood to do good. They are armed and dangerous. The neighborhood will be improved.
With time and guidance, these eager young naturalists will learn to wield the power of the weed-eater with more patient and judgement. They will become dependable servants of the cause of an attractive campus. But there will be those first few forays into battle, and the results are predictably predictable.
The results are predictably predictable.
Be less enthralled with your ability to trim the grass brothers, friends. Be less certain that you are qualified to tell the difference between a weed and a flower that has yet to bloom. Learn to use your power equipment carefully. You can do a lot of damage. All does not depend on you cutting down every unknown and out of place plant. You are not saving us from the arrival of the jungle. You are making things look better. It is an important job, but not to be taken overly seriously.
You can hurt someone with that weed-eater. it can tear up a tree or even a nice porch. It can mess you up. It has great potential for good, but it can cut down a garden in a matter of seconds. Learn to tell the difference. Be less fascinated by all that power and more committed to having the eye and heart of a cultivator.
There is a battle with weeds to be fought. Cut them down as needed. But be cautious, not self-righteous. You cannot make every edge straight. Most weeds will grow back. A weed-eater isn’t the right tool for every job.
It was the Pharisees that Jesus criticized for their weed-eater mentality. They were obsessed with separation. They were tithing their spices. They were experts in staying on the case until the weeds were revealed.
Jesus wants us to be gardeners, but we do have to deal with weeds. Did any gardener ever say “let the weeds grow” except for Jesus?
Some of us have set our sights (sites) on being full-time weed eaters and we’re having a very good time. The body of Christ needs a few. But only a few. And be careful, please. Very careful.
There are other ways to pull weeds of course. Not nearly as much fun, but I have to wonder what Jesus would think of today’s “Sons of Thunder” and their weed-eating zeal.
Whoever is not against us is for us. Who said that? Someone trying to keep the weed-eating crew useful, and not a dangerous nuisance.