The Weed

Here is a little story from several years ago.  It is a sweet story with an amazingly sweet message that has encouraged me from time to time over the years:

Elliot ran in from playing outside and presented me with flowers.  Tiny little delicate flowers on one rather thick and hairy-looking stem with a large root system attached.

“Ahhh!  They’re beautiful.  Thank you!” I said while I found the perfect bud vase to display my gift proudly on the kitchen counter.

“They’re weeds from the yard,” he explained as he turned to run back outside.

The pronouncement of “weeds” deflated my happiness a bit, but I still smiled, admiring the beauty of my gift.

Later when Paul saw the flowers he laughed.  “Did Elliot tell you about those flowers?”

“No.  He just said, ‘Here’s some pretty flowers I picked for you.'” I retold, choosing not to call them weeds.

Then Paul told me the story of what happened in the front yard.  The boys were playing in the front yard while Paul trimmed a bush in the flower bed.  Elliot spotted some beautiful flowers in the yard, dropped to his knees to inspect them more closely, and called out, “Daddy, come look at these pretty flowers in our yard!”

Paul glanced over, saw the weed that had invaded his yard, and announced that it was a weed.  “And this is what we do to yucky weeds,” Paul said as he triumphantly yanked it -flowers, stem, and roots from the ground.  Proudly, he held the defeated weed out to Elliot.

But Paul quickly noticed Elliot’s gaping mouth, unbelieving eyes, and sad heart.  Paul, Weed Hunter Destroyer, at once melted into Daddy, Counselor Comforter, who knew he had unknowingly, unintentionally smashed his six-year-old son’s joy and excitement.

Changing his tone, Paul acknowledged the pretty flowers and suggested presenting the bouquet to Mommy.

Later, looking at the flowers and remembering their story, I thought about how often similar things happen to us in our relationship with God.  We have something that we are proud of to present to Him, and someone — friend, foe, or the Enemy — steps in, calls it ugly, calls it a weed, labels it insufficient, and calls us unworthy.  Or maybe someone else presents something bigger or prettier or more delicate.  Then we receive those names and labels and are ashamed of our gift we have presented.  Ashamed of our offering and of our effort.  There’s no joy or happiness or fun in giving an ugly weed as a gift.

But God sees the beauty.  He sees the flowers, the delicate flowers.  And it seems He doesn’t even notice the big hairy stem or the ugly roots.  He’s thrilled with what I’ve given.  He sees the effort and is pleased.  He puts it proudly on display and periodically leans over to smell the delicate flowers.

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