Our lawns are being overtaken by alien grasses and unwanted flowers. It’s a never-ending task to keep them weed-free. Dandelions, for instance, are tenacious, with their bright yellow faces, and petals that look like a lion’s mane. They have deep taproots and children love to pick the blossoms for their mothers.
But if we don’t remove the dandelions before they become lovely circular seed-puffs, the wind will spread their progeny far from the original plant. Every seed is attached to a tiny parachute, ready to fly away with the slightest breeze, and then we’ll have them growing everywhere! As you can see, I have a bad attitude towards them!
But our great-grandson has a good attitude towards dandelions. James has no idea about their negative aspects. He’s never realised that those seed-puffs are weeds-in-the-making. How nice it would be to have a childlike feeling for these feral weeds; so relaxing.
However, in my focussed determination to remove them from our lawn, I took my trowel and marched towards the nearest golden bloom. I was on the warpath. I discovered it wasn’t any use to merely dig directly under the flower. It had grown away from its ‘mother’, and I had to follow the stem to its home before putting in the sharp tool. This task didn’t take much concentration, so I had time to think as I worked. And to let God talk to me about it all.
As I dug my trowel in once again, I sensed God saying that he wanted to give me some tips, such as checking out the attitude that Jesus had towards dandelion-people. He had something profound to say about them. First, in the way he associated with them, and also, what he said to people who were critical of the way he hobnobbed with them. Jesus had an excellent way of looking at people who were shunned by others.
One day he called to a taxation representative whom he’d noticed carrying on his trade by the side of the road. The Jews hated this person. I suppose we could say their attitude was similar to the one I had towards dandelions. They probably had plenty of adjectives and nouns for describing him: stinker, sneaky, tough, uncaring, ruthless, and many more. This was when my heart heard Jesus telling me what he thought of this taxman. He knew he was talking to a dandelion person, but he didn’t blame Matthew for who he was. He merely called to him, ‘Follow me’. And he did!
Well, some rabid dandelion-haters were watching all this activity, and when Jesus went to Matthew’s place for a meal, associating himself with other ‘dandelion-cronies’, these critical people gave vent to their hatred. They asked the disciples of Jesus why he hung out with such outcasts; the riffraff of society. At that moment, Jesus overheard their conversation and gave them a wise answer. By this time, I was really listening too.
He said, Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion’. Then he added, I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders (Matthew 9: 12-13 – The Message Bible).
Jesus wasn’t talking to me about digging up dandelions in our lawn. As usual, he had a deeper principle in mind. We’re all surrounded by dandelion-people. We may belong to that category ourselves! So whenever I see dandelions in the lawn, I remind myself that Jesus loves the dandelion-people and he’ll help me to love them too. What a childlike idea, but a brilliant solution!