A Conversation

Hello, pastor. Thanks for stopping by. Pastors don’t seem to visit much anymore. Guess they’re off doing something more important.

I hope you don’t mind if I keep on weeding while we talk. I find if I don’t get a good start early, the work just gets harder later on.

See, when the plants are just sprouting, it is very easy for them to get crowded out by weeds. Later on, they’re stronger and can handle more competition.

Even with weeding, plants seem to take a long time to get going. The first sprout comes up, and then nothing seems to happen for a long time—no fruit, and very few leaves. The reason is that plants first need to develop strong roots and they only show visible growth later on. If a plant tried to grow leaves and fruit first, it wouldn’t get enough nourishment and would soon wither and die even though it looked very healthy at first. You have to be patient.

Of course, I don’t expect you to understand all that, your work being so different.

That new compost bin I got, the instructions say I can put into it any plant matter except pernicious weeds. That’s a joke. I’ve never seen a weed that wasn’t pernicious.

Yes, gardening takes some experience. At least, it helps. Know how you can tell the difference between a plant and a weed? If you pull it up, break it apart, throw it down, and it regrows, it’s a weed. On the other hand, if you fertilize it, water it, and aerate the soil around it and it dies anyway, it was a plant.

You know, pastor, it seems year after year, generation after generation, I’m fighting the same weeds. It’s crabgrass here in this corner, pigweed over there. Yes, pastor, I expect you’re right there. The problem is that I don’t get all the roots out and so the same weeds just keep growing back.

Of course, it’s also true that every weed scatters seeds in all directions, and you can never control that or tell where they will wind up. Sometimes I think that I pay the price when my neighbor doesn’t get all of his weeds pulled.

Yes, pastor, I expect it’s also true that he pays the price when I don’t do a good job of weeding my garden.

Thank you, pastor. I enjoyed our talk too. Well, I don’t know about any sermon illustrations. That’s your business, not mine.

About jrcoggins

James R. Coggins is a professional writer and editor based in British Columbia, Canada. He wrote his first novel in high school, but, fortunately for his later reputation as a writer, it was never published. He briefly served as a Christian magazine editor (for just over 20 years). He has written everything from scholarly and encyclopedia articles to jokes in Reader’s Digest (the jokes paid better). His six and a half published books include four John Smyth murder mysteries and one other, stand-alone novel. In his spare time, he operates Mill Lake Books, a small publishing imprint. His website is www.coggins.ca
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