As I headed out one Sunday morning for the first weed eating of the year there was a bit of trepidation going to the barn. Weed eating has always been a chore I have done since my dad had me trimming fence lines around the pasture and house from an early age. This was a chore I didn’t really relish growing up, but after sitting behind a desk for over 25 years where I wracked my brain doing web development/programming, I love having a physical activity that doesn’t require a lot of thought processes! This was a little different than in past years.
My family and I built our home in a spot where I had helped build a cattle corral when I was in my very early teens. Before that, it was an old tobacco patch where I remember the plants seemed to tower over me as a child. There is now a low area in the back yard from where we excavated for the house and yard on the side of a hill that results in a catchment for water coming off the hill. The water is then routed around the house to a run-off. A few years after moving in, I noticed that there were some cattails growing in that wet spot. I thought that was an amazing thing as this wet spot was several feet below the original ground level and we had not planted any cattails. I decided to let those cattails grow. To me, they were beautiful. I asked my wife, kids, and dad not to mow them down, I really enjoyed them, especially in a cool morning breeze.
Over the years, tall grass and weeds started growing up in the midst of my precious cattails. I would take the weed eater and cut as much of the tall grass and weeds as possible but it became increasingly harder and harder to cut without cutting more and more of my cattails. Last summer, I just knew that I needed to get it all cleaned out. As I walked out, weed eater and garden tools in hand, I happened to notice a field mouse come darting out of the tall grass and weeds into the yard! The mouse noticed me and ran back for the cover of the tall grass. I started looking around as much as I could to see what kind of presence the mouse had in the area. Let’s just say this, there was more than one! I could not allow this! Mice this close to the house? I went back into the house after thinking and working on some other chores to discuss this with my wife as I was going to have to do something.
I went back outside to see if I could again clear out some of the weeds and grass without doing any damage. While I don’t like mice, I just don’t really want to kill anything. As I was walking out the back door, I happened to notice some movement out of the corner of my eye near the basement wall. Had the mouse scampered over there? NOPE, much worse than a mouse! It was a HUGE black snake, about six feet long! I need to take a quick moment to let you know how I feel about snakes…. there are only two kinds of snakes I’m afraid of: alive ones and dead ones! I would rather walk up on a bear out on a hike than I would a snake and here was this snake. On the ground. Right up against my house!! I yelled “GET OUT OF HERE” like I expected that snake to listen to me! I ran into the garage to get something, anything, that I could use to get that snake away from the house, found a shovel and gloves, and went back out. The snake was gone! Where did it go? As I started looking, I found the snake near the basement door, hiding in some grass that I had not trimmed yet. Once it saw me, it coiled into a defensive posture as I tried to scoop the snake up with the shovel. It took me a couple of times, but I finally got the snake on the shovel and I threw that sucker over the fence into the weeds! I guess that snake had enough of me as I haven’t seen him since he slithered into the woods!
You may be asking: what does this long story have to do with living a righteous life, one that follows YHVH (God)??
Brothers and sisters, one word if I may: HEEBEE JEEBEES (okay, two)!!! What had led that snake so close to the house? Most likely, the mice. What led the mice so close to the house? They sought shelter in the tall grass/weeds. What led to the tall grass/weeds? The cattails that I loved so much made it hard to maintain the grass. I consider weed eating a serious job now. A job that needs to be done, not just to make the home in which we live more attractive, but also safe from varmints and other things that hide in the tall grass. You may be asking: what does this long story have to do with living a righteous life, one that follows YHVH (God)?? You see, while I was weed eating the other day, I had to stay very attentive to what I was doing, I had to be very watchful while I was in the tall grass working away. That takes more work than one would imagine. Why did I need to be so attentive? Last year, when I was working in the tall grass on two separate occasions, I came very close on one day to a baby copperhead and on another day, a copperhead that was two inches in diameter. You know by now how I feel about snakes!
I did a lot of thinking on this the last couple of days as I was wondering what was in that tall grass as I cut it down with the weed eater. Brothers and sisters, the tall grass is like temptation. Something we should stay far away from something we should do away with. There is danger in temptation. 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ” The closer we get to temptation, the more we may possibly have to deal with sin (snakes) in our lives that can so easily ensnare us!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
There are times that we have to wade out into the tall grass (temptation), sometimes because we have not taken care of it ourselves, and therefore we have to cut it out of our lives. We need to tend the tall grass as much as possible in our lives, keep it short so it’s not something we have to deal with later.
Sometimes, as 1 Peter 5:8-9 showed us, it is just something we must deal with…quickly. Fortunately for us, if we do, we find that we have rescue in 2 Peter 2:9 “Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment” and 2 Timothy 4:17 – 18 “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever.”
Let us all do our part tending the tall grass in our lives!
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