I’ll bet you’ve never given much thought to tumbleweeds. If you’re from the Southwest, like I am, then you’ve likely seen many. Or, perhaps, they bring to mind images of old western movies. But, the other day I heard an analogy about tumbleweeds that struck me as so profound.
You see, a tumbleweed is just a bush that grows in the desert. But in order for it to proliferate, or multiply, it needs to spread its seeds around, and it does this by dying. Yes, dying! After it dies, strong winds, then, blow it away causing it to tumble about the desert—hence its name. As it tumbles around the desert it drops it seeds everywhere thereby causing it to spread. Aren’t we a lot like tumbleweeds?
Jesus said “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me” (John 12:24-26).
As imitators of Christ we are to die to ourselves. We are to be willing to lose our lives as we follow Christ. We are to pick up our cross and follow Him. Paul says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). We are not only to die to ourselves, but we are also to kill the passions and desires of the flesh and all things that are not of God. If we are to bear any kind of fruit we must first die (and this is so hard). But, like the tumbleweed, we cannot bear fruit unless we die.
So, once we die, where are we allowing ourselves to be blown? Are we in touch with the Holy Spirit? Are we listening to Him? Are we giving Him reign over our life? Are we letting Him lead us and guide us? Or, are we like infants being “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming?” (Ephesians 4:14). If we are listening to the Holy Spirit, then we will go where He calls us and not where the world tells us to go.
Where has the Lord asked you to go? Wherever it is, are you dropping seeds? Are you sowing as you are led by the Holy Spirit? Are you sharing the hope that you have within you with others God has placed in your path so that you can multiply or do you hang on to it for yourself?
I have been in the mission field for almost 6 years, and I still struggle every day against the flesh. I miss my home, my family, cleanliness, nice roads, good food, etc. But, I’m reminded that in order to bear fruit, I need to die to myself, daily. This isn’t a one time thing.
I also need to be in touch with the Holy Spirit as He leads me, daily. Not just once into the mission field, but every day. What I do, where I go, and those with whom I speak every day needs to be led by the Holy Spirit. I need to allow Him to “tumble” me around and go where He tells me to go. I need to tune out the world and where it tells me to go. Because the world keeps telling me to stop this silly missionary business and go home.
Lastly, we cannot forget to drop the seeds. It’s easy to get used to living somewhere and forget that we have a greater purpose. We are each called to sow the seeds of hope wherever God leads us—whether that is into the mission field or to the office or local grocery store. I cannot lose sight of the reason I am here, and it’s something I need to remember, daily. As followers of Christ we die to self, we are blown around by the Holy Spirit, and we drop seeds along the way in order to multiply. This is our purpose and calling: we are tumbleweeds.