A Pastor’s Thoughts

A Pastor’s ThoughtsPictured is Rev. Nancy Adams, Owego United Methodist Church. Provided photo.

Rev. Nancy J. Adams, Owego UMC —

Some people like to weed.  While it’s not my favorite thing to do, I do like tasks where I can see progress being made, and weeding fits that category. I’ve had the opportunity to do some (long overdue) weeding lately, and while there is certainly a lot more to do, it all looks better than it did. 

Yes, I realize that’s a very low bar of evaluation. The standard should be higher than simply, “It’s better than it was.” That’s an important start, though. I thought about how it would be so much easier to weed if I did it more than once a year. It’s far more of a challenge when the weeds have been allowed to “have at it,” and overtake the ground. 

Who likes weeds to overtake their property? Nearly no one, I would guess. While weeding, my thoughts went to how this all relates to our lives.  Perhaps there are “weeds” we have allowed to invade our lives.  I’m referring to things like selfishness, greed, anger, addiction, resentment, strained relationships, fear, the need to be in control, an unforgiving heart, etc.

That was not an exhaustive list. I’m sure you could add other “weeds” to the discussion. They are all certainly weeds that can choke the life right out of us, just as weeds in our yard can choke the life out of the flowers and bushes that offer beauty and delight.  

Weeding can be hard work. Some weeds pull out rather easily, but others are deeply – rooted and take a lot of effort to unearth. For some, we need more help, because we don’t have the right tool that we need, or we don’t have the strength to remove it on our own. 

Sometimes we think we’ve gotten rid of a certain weed, and then it pops up again a few feet from where we were working. Weeds can be pervasive and annoying, to say the least. Of course, the same is true of the “weeds” in our lives that I listed above.

So what is the answer? What can be done?  I’m glad you asked. While weeding and pruning are not exactly the same, both can foster growth. 

In John 15 we read that Jesus is the vine, God the Father is the gardener, and that we are the branches. In order to grow and be nourished in the faith, we need to stay connected to the vine (Jesus). 

So how do we stay connected to Jesus? We study scripture – individually and with others, we attend worship weekly (not weakly), and of course, we pray. When we do these things, will our lives be perfect?  No, we know our lives won’t be perfect, however, the more connected we stay to Jesus, fewer weeds will have room to take root and grow in our lives. 

We also need to allow God to prune or weed out the deeply-rooted parts of our lives that suck the life right out of us, which we will recognize more quickly if we are engaging in worship, Bible study, and prayer. Another important way to stay connected is to be in fellowship with one another. 

I have good friends who will hold me accountable and tell me the truth – whether I want to hear it or not. Those are true friends and they are a blessing. I thank God for them!  My church family is also a blessing. I can’t imagine what it would be like without all the people with which God has blessed my life. They encourage me and want the best for me, and I offer and want the same for them. 

Well, it’s time to do more weeding. Will you join me in allowing God to weed / prune what doesn’t belong in our lives so that we may thrive? May we always stay connected to the vine – Jesus. If you do, you won’t ever be sorry.

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