Spiders. I hate them. I know, that’s a strong word, but it’s true. The other day we noticed a particular spider had taken residence in our cucumbers at the women’s center and laid eggs, infesting two whole plants. It was sad. I mean, after all this time of prepping the soil, planting, tending to the weeds, and now this outside pest creeps in, spins a web, and lay eggs on the bottom of the leaves where we could not easily see. We were so surprised when the leaves began to turn yellow, then fade, until the tough decision came – we had to uproot them before they infested the other plants.
We would’ve loved to simply treat them slowly with something, but -in truth we do not like to add a lot of outside chemicals to our foods, and because the infestation was already so evasive, we had to act before the eggs hatched and damaged even more of our crops. So, I worked my way in-between the tall rows of beans and the cucumbers, which grow back to back against a long line of nylon cord in the middle of the greenhouse, and pulled two of the twelve plants by the roots, cut the guiding stings used to help them climb, and slowly picked what crops I could from the plant before I tossed it into the compost pile. It really was quite a sad moment, as silly as it sounds.
But then, I saw them.
Some vines from the other plants had woven up, underneath the beans and wrapped themselves in with them. Over the recent weeks with everything budding all around them, they’d began to produce some of the largest cucumbers I’d seen in weeks. Had I never uprooted the unfruitful ones next to them, we never would’ve seen clearly to find the produce hidden away. Likewise, the corrupt plants were sneaking their spidery leaves into the underbelly of the beans as well, and had slowly begun taking root to choke them out. It was like a two-for-one moment. We were finally rid of the pests, but it led to us finding hidden fruit in the other crops, and we were able to save what was sneakily growing beneath it all.
The Correction brought Collection.
I hope in this season we are all facing, God will give us fresh new eyes to see the benefits of the relevance of His scriptures for the church today. Correction and rebuke are necessary now more than ever in God’s Greenhouse. To wait too long could mean the loss of many future crops. Contrary to prevailing theories (even among seminaries today), correction and rebuke are not “passing judgement” or “unloving”, but quite the opposite -they are the proof of love. Are there many who might use these opportunities to wield a sword of criticism without proficiency? Certainly! Without a foundation of prayer for a brother or sister overran with sneaky pests of sin? Certainly! If such is the case, then those individuals should not be the ones wielding the swords of correction and rebuke (and may even need correction, teaching, and training themselves); however, leaders do not be dissuaded to shy from the necessary actions on their behalf, but on behalf of those whose souls teeter on the other side of our obedience to show love. Real love. The love of discipline married with the intentions of a soul reunited wholly with Jesus and led by the Holy Spirit through a council of prayerful elders.
Blessings in your spiritual garden, and beyond.