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Culling Cuckaburrows

Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.  Matthew 13:30 NLT

Photo courtesy of pixabay.Pulling cuckaburrows was a new experience for me in farm life.

Visiting my maternal grandparents on the farm was always enjoyable. Every day was a new adventure, doing things I never experienced in the city. Along with my cousin, we’d pile into my grandfather’s blue Chevy truck and head to the farm.

As my grandfather rode down the dirt roads dividing the fields of cotton, he pointed out cuckaburrows. Like many other words my grandparents used, this one isn’t in the dictionary. These invaders were thorny weeds that often grew alongside the cotton. They were easy to spot as they matured. And when my grandfather did, he’d send my grandmother, my cousin, and me into the fields to pull them up. 

“Be careful not to pull up the cotton,” he’d caution. Sometimes this was precarious because they grew so closely together.

Jesus once said something similar when asked if weeds should be pulled from the wheat field. Unlike my grandfather, He said to leave them until the harvest time. Then they would be separated into their respective places.

Like the tares of Jesus’ day, these weeds represented things that shouldn’t be in the cotton field. If left alone, they would take over, preventing the cotton plant from growing and producing as my grandfather intended.

My cuckaburrows represent things that shouldn’t be in my life. Left there, they will stunt my spiritual growth or even keep me from Christ initially. Sinful choices and sinful relationships invite thorns into my life. Some aren’t sinful; they merely interfere with my service to Christ. Like my grandfather, Christ tells me to pull them up.

Ridding my life of prickly invaders takes intentional effort. I could have looked at them in the cotton field all day long, but they would never have gone away. I had to leave the truck, walk into the field, and remove them. Cuckaburrows interfere with my being the salt and light Jesus wants me to be in this world. Spiritual disciplines spread poison on them.

Ask God to show you your cuckaburrows. Then pull them up so you can be successful in your work for Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

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Martin Wiles


Martin Wiles lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, pastor, and author who has been published in numerous publications. He also serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as a proof editor for Courier Publishing. He is the author of five books, and his next book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Busy World, in under contract with Ambassador International for release in December, 2019. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three. He can be contacted at [email protected].