There are many good things in which we can involve ourselves, things that serve a purpose but at the same time rob us of the time and energy we need to achieve our true calling. This is a lesson I learned many years ago as I was confessing to a friend my burn out with so many good things (Optimist Club, United Way, and even Church activities) coupled with providing for my family, I was left exhausted. Instead of sympathy my friend offered me this stinging but loving admonishment, “Remember Tom, your family is your first ministry.”
I was reminded of this life-changing rebuke as I was pulling weeds in our strawberry patch this morning. Growing amongst my strawberries were a few beautiful young volunteer tomato plants. At that moment I was reminded of another piece of advice I had once received from a fellow gardener, “If it’s not where it belongs it’s a weed.” Though it didn’t feel right to do it, I took hold of those healthy young plants and pulled them out by their roots.
It is so easy to allow what is good to crowd out and ultimately replace what is best. Sometimes it goes against our very nature, but as we pursue what is best eliminating good things from our lives is just as important as eliminating the bad. The writer of Hebrews put it like this, “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2. Not everything that hinders us is in and of itself sinful, but if we allow it to replace that which is best it serves a similar purpose.