Dandelion Lessons

DANDELIONS

When we came home after our extended trip, our front lawn looked like a wild weed patch – grass so long that it bends under its own weight, broad-leaf weeds growing everywhere, and dandelions! These were the worst. There were so many of them that the yard looked like we were cultivating them on purpose.

We tried every means to get rid of them. First we got down on our hands and knees and tried to dig them up. But they were so numerous that the handle of our hand tool broke off before we made even a dent in their population. Then I borrowed a friend’s heavy-duty “dandelion eater”, which allowed you to dig the roots up without bending down and hurting your back. Finally we sprayed them with organic weed killers, which supposedly should make them turn black, shrivel up, and die. We have yet to see that happen!

Dandelions are so tenacious that I thought Christians should learn an object lesson from them. No I don’t mean that in a pesky way, as some folks are really obnoxious, even though they call themselves Christians. I mean their adaptability and tenacity, something lacking in a large segment of the Christian population.

First of all, dandelions grow in all environments. Its tap-root goes deep into the soil to gather water and nutrients. They flourish in lawns, flower beds, along driveways, even in the cracks of concrete sidewalks. They are everywhere! I wish Christians have deep roots and can adapt to any circumstances too, but unfortunately some shrivel in adverse conditions. Some thrive only in a protected, green house environment, where they are among fellow Christians. But once they move into secular society, say a university campus or the workforce, they lose their faith and start following the crowd to blend in. Instead of changing their world, their world changed them. Not so with dandelions. I hope you are that way.

Secondly, dandelions’ ability to hold on is legendary. Before chemicals were banned, we sprayed them with different kinds of herbicides, but they lived on. Then we used different organic or home-made formulas, such as vinegar or soapy water, but to no avail. It’s as if the more you try to exterminate them, the wider they spread. They hung on to life despite hostile conditions. I wish Christians are more like that in their persistency and endurance. The world is getting increasingly Christian-unfriendly, targeting them with biased treatment and harassment. In some countries it is downright hostile and Christians are persecuted. We need to be trained to persist and endure, or face extinction.

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Third, dandelions propagate profusely. They are designed for maximum reproduction. Each flower head actually consists of many small flowers called florets. When mature the flower head turns into a “blowball” containing many single-seed fruits. Each fruit is attached by a stalk to a “parachute” consisting of many fine hairs, allowing it to be blown about by the wind, travelling long distances. So without any effort to cultivate them, they grow spontaneously and have a wide distribution. Would that Christians are more like dandelions, reproducing themselves spiritually, effortlessly, anywhere and everywhere.

Lastly, despite their being classified as a weed, dandelions are actually quite pretty with their bright yellow flowers, giving the impression of a sunny disposition notwithstanding being looked down upon. Christians are sometimes viewed by the world as weeds too, but we can be beautiful in God’s sight, adapting, persevering, enduring, and propagating. Learn a lesson from the lowly dandelion.

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