We were cleaning up the backyard today. After two months of it being swampland, it was time! One task tackled was weed-eating along the fence line. While I was power slashing a row of grass, I wondered why I was doing that instead of just spraying Round-up along the fence. After all, one of my yard work mottoes is “Never weed-eat what you can round-up!”
Round-up, for those who don’t know, is a broad spectrum herbicide. It kills plants. It kills grass, weeds, anything with leaves basically. It’s a lot easier to spray Round-up into the areas that you cannot get a mower than it is to cut it with a string trimmer.
The problem is, Round-Up works. It works indiscriminately. It will kill all the green stuff, whether you like it or not—a little drift, and that batch of strawberry plants are as dead as the weeds! So you have to be careful with it.
And then I started thinking—because I’m always on the lookout for things I can use to illustrate sermons. Here are a few observations:
1. Some issues in life should be Round-upped. Yes, that’s a word here. Some things you just need to kill off—nuke it from orbit, bounce the rubble, whatever term you need. This applies to sin around which there is no zone of safety or redemptive hope. Your clinging to racial prejudice or holding on to old bitterness? Scorch it. There’s nothing growing in the midst of that which is helpful. Kill it all.
2. Some issues in life should be weed-eated around. Something is growing there, like the grape vines in the midst of all sorts of weeds. You cannot spray it without harming the fruit that is growing, but you must fight back the weeds. This may be your workplace or other aspects of life that need monitoring: good fruit and good things can come from them, but care must be exercised.
How do we know which is which?
Careful discernment, informed by the Word of God. To Round-up broadly is to fall into the trap of legalism, scorching the very ground that may, perhaps, yield the fruit that God has you here to bring forth.
Yet if you let everything grow, you will allow too much effort into the weeds and grass. Too many of the good things will be hidden, and you will surround that good fruit with danger and uselessness. This is the trap on the other side—where we act as if there is no good thing commanded by God that we are to focus on.
How do we know?
Careful discernment packed with wisdom from the Word of God. We cannot put it off on to others, nor can it be left undone. We must patiently seek the Lord.