And with my hands pull garden weeds,
The likeness always come to mind,
'Tween weeds and sins of human kind.
"For weeds will grow up anywhere
In ground that's either foul or fair,
And when you pull them you're not through;
They'll grow right up again for you.
"Some weeds have roots so great in length
That pulling them is test of strength,
And they should be removed with care
Or they'll kill good plants anywhere.
"It makes no difference where you go
There's no place that the weeds can't grow;
Some folks keep weeding, others won't,
Some folks have gardens, others don't.
"So weeds and sin are quite the same
In growth and action, not in name;
But different is their origin:
God makes the weeds, we make the sin."
(quoted in talk by John H. Vandenberg, Conference Report, October 1968, pp. 31-34)
It is important to realize that we make our "garden" or, in this case, our life just what it is.
You and I are, in the final analysis, our own creators. This principle is often referred to as the law of the harvest: " . . whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". This law affects each of our lives. If we plant seeds of righteousness and cultivate them properly, we reap peace, joy, and exaltation; and if not, we reap the whirlwind of sorrow and anguish.
How does your garden grow?
“You can’t be a cowboy if you ain’t got boots, and you can’t have a harvest if you ain’t got roots....”
Ok, now I must confess that I am not currently a garden owner. My parents and grandparents were, but the large garden spot in my backyard where they used to have it is presently grassed over. I have access to irrigation water. I still have space available back there. Seeds are available from the local stores. The sun is still shining and rain is still raining. I even have a collection of spades, rakes and other tools I have no idea how to use. But, gardens have always seemed to be a huge responsibility, requiring dedication, constant babysitting, and, what was that other word, oh yes .. work. With this attitude, should I expect to get anything delicious and edible (other than the dandylions) out of my backyard? Of course not. I have chosen to be garden free by past decisions. No one came and pillaged my produce. I cannot blame the weather or the altitude or the government. I have made my own (garden) bed and now have chosen not to lie in it (or eat out of it).
Did you use FDP (Faith, Diligence, Patience)?
“But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life. And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long- suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.”
It seems like it takes a long time for a garden to be ready to harvest, but looking back over the years, you will realize that not only was it worth it, it was worth the wait.
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated - And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (D&C 130:20–21.)
The Lord has clearly charted a course for us to obtain his blessings. He is bound by his divine law to bless us for our righteousness. The overwhelming question in each age is why each generation must test his law, when the Lord’s performance from generation to generation has been absolutely consistent.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap.” ( Gal. 6:7–9.)
Freedom to discipline self
In this world of turmoil, as we look at what the harvest will be for our personal lives, these words of Bernard M. Baruch hold great meaning: "The only freedom man can ever have is the freedom to discipline himself. That is what we are fighting for, to maintain our right to self discipline instead of having the discipline of slavery and tyranny thrust upon us by a conquering enemy."
Scholars often point to the great battles of history and indicate how the fate of the world is shaped by the outcome. Such battles were fought at Waterloo, Concord, Gettysburg, and Normandy. However, after careful analysis one must conclude that the great and determining battles are fought within the soul of man.
Decisions determine harvest
Each day of our own lives we are faced with similar decisions. These choices determine the ultimate course of our lives. It is the culmination of our day-to-day decisions and actions that determines whether we will reap a harvest of peace in this life and life eternal, or unhappiness.
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:31-40).
We reap as we sow
As President Kimball stated: “The law of the harvest has not been repealed .. What is wrong is wrong, and trends do not make something right which is at variance with the laws of God..”
We are, in a very real way, our own creators. We reap that which we have sown, and we receive our wages of "eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which [we] listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one. For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey" (Alma 3:26-27). In other words, we decide by our day-to-day actions what our harvest will be. May we sow only righteousness, while continuing to rid our lives of the weeds of evil, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
- Poem: “When I put on my worn-out tweeds” Best Loved Poems of the LDS People, 305-306.
- “What Will the Harvest Be?” (John H. Vandenberg, 1968 Semi-Annual General Conference)
- “As a Man Soweth” (L. Tom Perry, 1976 Annual General Conference, Ensign)
- “Listen to the Prophets” (Spencer W. Kimball, 1978 Annual General Conference, Ensign)