The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. Matthew 13:22
On a recent drive through the mountains in the Blue Ridge, I saw how much it had grown since the last time I was there, a lot. It is known as the plant that is eating the south. Kudzu was introduced from Japan to the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 as an ornamental and a forage crop plant. The Civilian Conservation Corps and southern farmers planted kudzu to reduce soil erosion. Big mistake.
Kudzu has trailing and climbing, hairy stem that grow at speed of one foot per day. One root produces up to 30 vines that can reach length of 60 feet per season. It covers and smothers out underlying vegetation. It is truly an invasive species. It starts out small and gets bigger…. and bigger.
I am reminded of Genesis 4, the first time “sin” is mentioned in the Bible. God tells Cain: “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7). In essence, God is saying that He did not create us to sin, but from that time forward, sin has crept into our lives, like kudzu, smothering what lies below.
We believe that we are in control and have mastery over the dark impulses of our hearts. We see our sin as a little kitten that is easy to handle, rather than a man-eater.
This portrait of sin is taken up repeatedly through the Bible.
• Sin is compared to weeds that grow and choke the power of God’s word in our souls (Matt 13:22).
• Sin is compared to a little spark that can start a whole forest fire (James 3:5).
• It is compared to deadly gangrene that can spread through a whole church (2 Tim 2:17).
• Sin is compared to leaven, which is similar to our modern understanding of yeast. The smallest pinch of yeast will take over a lump of dough as big as the world, given enough time. “A little leaven, leavens the whole lump.” (I Cor. 5:6, Gal 5:9)
Don’t let sin be the “kudzu” of your life. Don’t let it choke out the God created goodness that lies below.
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
LESSONS ON LIGHT:
Live the light
Be the light
Spread the light
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In his book, Hell’s Best Kept Secret, Ray Comfort relates a tragic story about a woman who was once walking along a riverbank with her child. Suddenly the child slipped into the river. The mother screamed in terror. She couldn’t swim, plus she was in the latter stages of pregnancy. Finally, somebody heard her screaming and rushed down to the riverbank.
The utter tragedy was, when they stepped into those murky waters to retrieve that now dead child, they found that the water was only waist-deep! That mother could have easily saved her child but didn’t because of a lack of knowledge.
As heartbreaking as that story is, how much more tragic is it to see those drowning in sin when knowledge of God’s life-saving Truth is within their grasp.
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Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a countercultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption that surrounds us.
The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration.
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Daniel Webster, the 19th-century statesman, and orator was known for his quick wit. The story’s told that his way with words was evidenced early in childhood.
One day Webster’s father, who was leaving on a short trip, left Daniel and his brother Ezekiel specific work instructions. But on his return, he found the task still undone, and questioned his sons about their idleness.
“What have you been doing, Ezekiel?” he asked. “Nothing, sir.” “Well, Daniel, what have you been doing?” “Helping Zeke, sir.”