I was going to make an attempt to come up with a clever comparison for what I want to illustrate here. But, I've decided not too, I would rather go read my Bible. So, In light of that I just wanted to say a few things.
Living in the suburbs for many Americans has choked out any perception of agricultural life, creation's revelation of the Creator, or any understanding of the beauty of new life and death that brings forth new life, I believe it serves a sobering reminder. This reminder is penned in the pages of Scripture by the Holy Spirit, and spoken by the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When Jesus taught He often used illustrations that clarified the Kingdom of God to His hearers. Not having any idea of what it would be like the listeners conceptualizing it may have been pretty difficult. So Jesus spoke of things they knew. He drew comparisons using the leavening of bread, farmer's fields, and fisherman's nets. These are all things they would've been very familiar with (check out Starr Meade's article in Modern Reformation: May/June). But in our concrete jungle we lose sight of these things don't we?
Many of us don't bake, farm, or fish much. At least for sustenance and provision. A weekend camping trip or vacation provides time to do these things, but during the daily grind they are put away. Since I've been cutting down weeds that have turned into 20 foot trees, old overgrowth that's gone wild for 20 years, and turning over the soil to plant a garden some things have jumped out at me. Two trailers full of thorn bushes, dead branches, and useless weeds hauled to the burn pile in my father's backyard struck a vision of one of our Lord's teachings. How realistic it became to see the uselessness of the things that produce nothing of use for sustenance. These things are burned because they serve no purpose. Useless!
In light of the time I've spent actually doing something that might resemble relying on the land to produce some food for me I've had a chance to see how the walls of work, the siding on houses, the concrete precast on buildings, and the monuments men build to decorate sidewalks all serve as distractions from the creation. In that distraction not having any contact with "real" things would blur words like Matthew 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?" Might not really hit the mark quite like it was intended would it? Study of the word could most certainly instill guards for making this error. But all the plant life hauled off to the burn pile and to the curb were put there because they would not bear fruit. Nor would they ever. Just more thorns and thistles.