What’s Under All That Grass?
Usually, by this time of year anyway, the land around us is turning brown and the vegetation is dying away. But, for some strange reason, we are having an unusually wet summer. Things are still lush and green. The grass is growing better than it usually does in the Spring. All the hay producers should be having a bumper crop.
Along the path of my morning drive, there is a particular field that I’ve always admired. It is one of those parcels of land that has that extra special look. It’s obvious that the owner had taken great pride in keeping in shape. However, since we’ve had so much rain, the Johnson grass had about taken over.
Johnson grass is undoubtedly one of the species God had in mind when he cursed the ground in the discipline of the first man. You can pull it up, spray it, mow it or drop a bomb on it and it will still come back up. Not only that, it will grow extremely tall. Johnson grass can take over a place, especially a planted field, before you can turn around.
This particular field has its share of Johnson grass. Everywhere you look, you can see the straggly stuff standing at attention and saluting the breeze. All the while, it aggressively sends its reproductive system all along the surface of the earth around it as if it were in a struggle to take over every other kind of grass in the field.
I didn’t notice until today, but I had quit admiring the field. As a matter of fact, I had even quit noticing it. After all, there was nothing more to look at. Johnson grass, for some reason, doesn’t have much of an attraction to anyone.
As I drove along, once again my eyes were drawn to the lovely field. It seems that in the last day or two someone climbed on a tractor and sent that Johnson grass to its sun-parched grave. Once again, the beauty of the field shown through. All that beauty was never gone. It was only hidden by the weeds and Johnson grass. What a teacher!
I remember how Jesus looked at nature to teach his disciples the more important things about ministry. The thought struck me, “Of all the things in nature to teach me a lesson, Lord, does it have to be Johnson grass?”
Once again the gentle lay of the land was exposed, revealing its beauty and grace. Once again, the land looked productive, and as I looked at that field, I also looked at my own heart.
How many times have we looked at another person whose life has been taken over by the cares and concerns of this world and thought, “It’s really sad that they have become such a waste.” You see, just like the Johnson grass took over the beautiful field, the sin of this world can take over the beautiful heart of a neighbor, or a brother or sister in Christ. When the weeds are there and growing taller with each passing day, our ability to see the beauty and the good diminishes until we conclude that they are useless.
Jesus was a master at seeing through the weeds in the lives of people and seeing their inner beauty. I’m constantly amazed at the patience He exhibited with Peter and some of the other disciples. Peter had Johnson grass growing all over him, but Jesus remembered the lay of the land before all that happened. He knew what was under all that clutter. Knowing that, He reached through and pulled out the real man, set him as a pillar in the church and placed him in a position of leadership that others could emulate. I’m grateful Jesus didn’t throw him away, aren’t you?
How many times has Jesus had to look through the weeds of my life to find something worth working with? I’m grateful He is the way He is. I’m grateful He is willing to look through all the rubbish to deal with my heart.
Perhaps a little Johnson grass will help all of us to understand the value God sees in all of us. Maybe we should be very careful and very slow to write anyone off. There were times when Jesus instructed the disciples to “shake the dust off your feet”, but they were few and far between.
Before you write someone off, take a long look in the mirror and see if there may be a few sprouts of Johnson grass on you. Would Jesus throw you away?