"An Inside Perspective"

November 2009

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! As you know, I spend a good portion of my time at work in the summer pulling weeds and manicuring the greenhouse grounds. I take my work very seriously and I do it as unto the Lord. It is written, “In all that you do, do it as unto the Lord and not unto men.” So whether I am weeding, pruning, or just sitting back enjoying the fruits of my labor, I “do it as unto the Lord.”

We do not have a bathroom in the greenhouse so when we have to do that particular chore we have a spot we use back behind our flower-shop building. This particular area is adjacent to our vegetable garden and at this time of year it is a bit overgrown with weeds. The harvest is past and the soil is now patiently awaiting its fall tilling.

The other day I was back there in that area and as I looked down, just off to my left, there was a beautiful plant with the prettiest little white flowers on it. They were very small and delicate-looking flowers. As I studied it, I took note that I had never seen it before. Later as I reflected on that plant, I realized that it was a weed that had become full grown. The reason I had never seen it before was because I had spent the last two years pulling them out and killing them as soon as they sprouted. I had indeed labored tirelessly against this weed.

As I reflected further I thought to myself, “Who is it that determines what plant is a weed and what plant is not a weed?” I myself had simply taken the word of the man before me and pulled them. I was even preaching against these weeds, as it were, by telling others to pull them up too! The other men I work with, and have even trained, simply took my word for it and at first sight they pulled them up by the roots!

This weed grew up despite us and our efforts as professing gardeners. It grew up against all odds. Not only that, but it grew up in a nasty toilet area, and still it flowered beautifully! Lovely little white flowers on a weed, who would have ever guessed it! It was as if this weed were shouting to me, “Philip, I am not a weed, I am a plant with beautiful flowers! Don't believe the hype!”

It is written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek ... liberty to the captives ... and beauty for ashes ...” The good news of the gospel is that weeds can have flowers, yes, they can have “beauty for ashes!” I am reminded of how society views men and women in prison. We are weeds that have been deemed no good and pulled from society. Yet, these weeds grow up despite the efforts of professing Christians because God grows them. Did you know that the prisons are God's chastening grounds, even His fertile fields? Against all odds, God causes weeds to grow flowers in the nasty little toilet areas of life. Saved prisoners flower beautifully. If you look close you may see delicate little white flowers on them. It is as if they shout against the world's mindset, “I am not a weed anymore, Christ has saved me! I am a plant, look at my flowers! Don't believe the hype!”

The true gospel’s intent is to “bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort those that mourn, to give the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness!” The true gospel declares that the weeds shall be called “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified!” The true gospel proclaims that the weeds shall “be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you Ministers of our God.” Yes, the weeds shall “eat the riches of the Gentiles!” Hallelujah! Can you grasp that? The weeds will “be clothed with the garments of salvation!” You betcha---by the grace of God---the weeds will grow full and be clothed with flowers unto their God! Wow! Now that is good news, is it not?

Who in your life determines who is a weed and who is not? Is it society? Is it the media? Is it your heart? From God's perspective we were all weeds once, right? God alone determines who is a weed and who is not, not us. Perhaps you have been pulling them out with no thought up to this point in your life? Maybe you have a preconceived mindset against weeds? Once you have fellowshipped with full grown weeds though, and as you study them, you may see a beautiful plant with the prettiest little white flowers on it, perhaps even flowers you yourself do not have! Lord willing at that point, your whole view of God's work in the prisons will change. Continue to preach the gospel, beloved! The Kingdom of God shall be full of ...