I love summer! I love all the seasons and the changes that each season brings, but most of all I really love summer. What is surprising to me every year is how quickly weeds grow. A few years ago I noticed a little green vine growing next to our driveway. I thought how it was an interesting looking little plant with pretty little yellow desert flowers. I thought that it would be nice to have some ground cover there instead of just bark so I did nothing about it. I know nothing of gardening, and this was a hard lesson to be learned. I let it grow, and grow it did, like crazy. It soon was everywhere. It would make me a little nervous as I’d come home and I’d see how quickly it was spreading. I would glance at it on my way into the house, then forget about it. Then the heat of the summer really came on and all of a sudden there were thousands of these horrible stickers everywhere. I couldn’t believe how bad it got. One day as I walked by the area and I lifted the bottom of my shoe so I could see it, and there was not an inch not covered by these stickers. I had unknowingly let Puncturevine (a.k.a. Goatheads) into our yard, let them take root, and let them go wild. Puncturevine, or Tribulus terrestris is a dreadful weed. These sharp long multi-pronged stickers were in our socks, in our shoes, in our shoelaces, and covered the soles of our shoes poking deep into them. They were tracked into the cars, into the garage, into the house, and on to the carpet. I had to use needle-nose pliers to pull them out of the soles of our shoes one by one. This thing was nasty and I knew I had to confront it because we were all miserable. So I got knee pads, gloves, a shovel, and started removing it. I would feel the bite of the stickers poking through the gloves into the skin. I also have terrible allergies, and I’m allergic to all types of weeds, goathead being no exception, so that just added to my torture as I was battling the biblical plague of noxious weeds next to our driveway. Finally, with a lot of work we were able to get rid of them.
So that’s a great story Brother Bringhurst, but what does it have to do with the Bishopric message? Well I’ve thought a lot about that experience, and now every year when I see a goathead plant poking up, I’m quick to kill it. No Mr. Nice Guy. I want it gone. I want the root gone. I don’t want any sign of it around. I know what it will turn into if I don’t get rid of it immediately.
I think this is similar to sin. Sometimes we might think some sin is a minor thing that won’t hurt anyone or that some commandments are not that big of a deal. An all-knowing Heavenly Father has given us commandments for wise purposes. He has given us prophets and apostles to teach us the commandments and give us warnings. They are not trying to restrict our freedom, but they help guide us to set up barriers of protection from the painful stickers that come from the harmful weeds of sin. Sometimes sin appears to be attractive at first. It’s enticing. It might just seem like fun. It might appear to cause no harm or seem exciting. But what we don’t see is how it can quickly spread and lead to other sin and take over eventually causing us grief and pain as we try to rid ourselves of it. Just like malicious weeds, we can’t allow sins into our life and expect that they will easily go away. We can’t sin a little and expect the Holy Ghost to still be our companion. Weeds choke out the flowers and good plants. Sin chokes out the light of the gospel and the desire to have goodness and righteousness in our life. Every night we need to kneel down in prayer and repentance and pull the spiritual weeds from our life that will block us from having the companionship of the Holy Ghost. If we wait a week, or two, or a few months, it becomes much much harder. When the feelings of the Spirit have been dulled because of sin, we find ourselves not wanting to pray. When we don’t feel like praying, that is exactly when we really need to pray.
Amulek said, ” I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed” (Alma 34:32–33).
We love each you. We pray for you. You are remarkable. May the Lord’s blessing be upon you this beautiful summer.
Love, Brother Bringhurst
This was taken from a bishopric message which I wrote in July 2016: