Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:18-24 (KJV)
In a former life, I confess that I used Round Up. A lot. Some of you who are conservation minded and environmentally friendly just gasped. In my defense, I will state that I did not recognize how destructive the chemical could be to the soil. We have a lot of acreage that is fenced. The weeds grow up and tangle within it and unless you take a weedwacker and walk the entire property line, the mess keeps getting bigger and higher. Since we live in a semi rural neighborhood, surrounded by multi million dollar homes (believe me, ours is not one of them, but we were here first), the neighbors frown upon an unkempt yard. Unfortunately, those expensive manure producers we keep in the back pasture ignore the weeds in favor of the rose bushes. I used to employ the weedwacker, but as I got OLD, I could not longer hoist it up on my shoulder and swing it around. So, I resorted to Round Up, spraying it along the fence line, house and flower beds. About four times a year was all it took to keep the neighbors happy and the weeds at bay. After much lobbying, a friend who is a Master Gardener and proponent of natural lawn and garden care convinced me to put away my sprayer. It is wintertime and the slow growing season, so I am not sure how I will maintain my environmental consciousness when the weeds are growing like Jack’s Bean Stalk next summer, but I will try her suggestions. In the meantime, I am reaping the fruit of my labors, and finding out the consequences of Round Up use. When I downsized my gardens a few months ago, I enlarged an existing bed and transplanted some bushes from another area into it. I then filled the bed with nasturtium seeds. While seeds sprouted at the back of the bed, nothing came up in the new portion. I replanted and still nothing grew. Then, it dawned on me. The new section I added to the bed was an area that I used to spray for weeds. Months after the last spraying, all of that Round Up in the soil was preventing my new seeds from germinating. The bed is lovely and green except where the old edge used to be. It is bare dirt with nothing emerging from it. That made me think of how during Christmas, our world is surrounded by the message of Christ. Christmas carols heralding His birth are broadcast into places where religion is normally banned. Nativity scenes spring forth on courthouse lawns, and people greet each other with Merry CHRISTmas. Yet, as though their hearts have been dosed with Round Up, they fail to absorb the message of the true meaning of the season. Don’t miss the truth of what Christmas is all about. Let Christ’s love and sacrificial gift of salvation plant itself deeply in your heart so that it will grown and thrive all year long.