Blessed… The Dandelion Paradox

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like someone who planted good seed in his field. While people were sleeping, an enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat and went away. When the stalks sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared. “The servants of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Then how is it that it has weeds?’ “‘An enemy has done this,’ he answered, “The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them?’ “But the landowner said, ‘No, because if you gather the weeds, you’ll pull up the wheat along with them.  Let both grow side by side until the harvest. And at harvest time I’ll say to the harvesters, “First gather the weeds and tie them together in bundles to be burned. But bring the wheat into my barn” ’”

 Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Jesus replied, “The one who plants the good seed is the Human One.  The field is the world. And the good seeds are the followers of the kingdom. But the weeds are the followers of the evil one.  The enemy who planted them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the present age. The harvesters are the angels.  Just as people gather weeds and burn them in the fire, so it will be at the end of the present age.  The Human One will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that cause people to fall away and all people who sin.  He will throw them into a burning furnace. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Those who have ears should hear” (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, Common English Bible).

Yesterday we looked a bit a weeds and I told you about a former church member who told me, “A weed is a plant no one loved.” It is something that has stuck with me in the years since.

I can attest to that from my own life experience. I am sure that I, much like my kids, brought my mother (I honestly don’t remember if I did or not, but I do remember my kids doing so), a flower I picked out of the yard. My kids would pick it and then with pride come in and give it to Cindy and say, “Mama, I picked this for you!” And of course she made a big deal out of the gift of a “flower” that most of us, when in our yards, would call weeds.

As I think back on that, I remember that some of those “flowers” were dandelion blooms. That brought back to my memory the dandelions that grew in the yard, a plant we didn’t want growing in our yard when I was a kid. They were “weeds” and we would spend a significant amount of time attempting to eradicate these weeds from the lawn.

So now, between children and adults we have a paradox. Is the dandelion a weed? Or, is it a flower? Such could be difficult enough to solve but the dilemma gets worse. Imagine my shock when, in later years, as an adult, I found out that some people say those dandelions are greens and they eat them! How could they do that? How could someone eat weeds? But, what I found out was some people love them. That means, the dandelion, is it a weed, is it a flower or is it a vegetable. That doesn’t even begin to mention people who make dandelion tea or dandelion wine.

Since I made this discovery, I have also discovered that I really like pesto. Most often pesto is made from basil leaves. One day I found out you could make pesto from spinach leaves and I tried it and found out I like spinach pesto pretty well, Much more recently a church member gave me Swiss chard and I found out Swiss chard pesto is pretty good. I haven’t tried dandelion pesto yet but I would certainly be willing to try.

In this paradox, I am more and more coming down on the side of a vegetable. But, here is the deal. Just as the farmer said the workers might pull up the wheat while trying to pull the weeds because they couldn’t tell the difference, regardless of what you might think, those dandelions aren’t just a weed to some folks. They are something the really care about. In other words, we might not be able to tell the difference.

What looks like a weed, what looks like a flower and what looks like a vegetable to you?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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