September 30, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Kudzu and Christianity

(Franklin, GA) — Here in the Deep South, we have a wonderful little vine called Kudzu.

We have so much of it that you would think it is native to the South.

In fact, kudzu now covers more than 7 million acres in the South.

Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Japanese government had constructed a garden at the exposition to show the beautiful plants from their country, of which, kudzu was one of those plants.

The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of the vine caught the imagination of American gardeners who soon began to use the vine for ornamental purposes.

In the 1920’s it was discovered that animals would eat the vine and it was marketed via mail order as forage for animals.

In the 1930’s the Soil Conservation Service promoted Kudzu to control soil erosion. Hundreds of young men were given jobs through the Civilian Conservation Corps planting kudzu. Then in the 1940’s farmers were paid as much as $8.00 an acre incentive to plant Kudzu.

The kudzu vine grows as much as a foot per day during the summer months.

Under ideal circumstances it can grow sixty feet in a year. At this phenomenal growth rate, kudzu takes over anything it meets, such as telephone poles, fences, and trees. I have even seen it completely engulf abandoned cars and houses.

And it is resilient. You cannot t kill the stuff. In the Deep South we say that the only way to get rid of kudzu – is to move!

In 1972 the USDA declared kudzu a weed. Since that time scientist have been trying to develop herbicides to kill the weed. They have discovered that one herbicide actually makes it grow better, while others have little effect on it.

But amazingly, researchers have discovered that one of the most successful ways to stop kudzu from growing is to allow goats to graze on it.  Continued grazing by goats will kill the kudzu.

When you stop and absorb all the information you have just read … doesn’t the attributes of kudzu describe the attributes of Christianity and the church?

Kudzu gives a sweet-smelling fragrance. Wasn’t Jesus described as The Lily of The Valley?

If we are going to win America back to God, it won’t happen by being negative and judgmental. It will happen by presenting the beauty of Jesus Christ. And Kudzu provides nourishment.

Didn’t Jesus say He was the bread of Life? We have what the world is starving for, Jesus Christ. It was used as a preservative.

Aren’t we commanded to be the salt (preservative) of the earth? Kudzu was spread by intentional planting. Aren’t we commanded to go into all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? There was a price paid to those who planted kudzu.

Doesn’t the Bible instruct us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven? And under the right circumstances, kudzu grows at a phenomenal rate. Aren’t we instructed to grow and mature in our faith?

Kudzu possesses whatever it comes in contact with. Shouldn’t ever aspect of our lives be possessed by our Christian faith, values, and morals? It is nearly impossible to kill kudzu. It takes the things that are meant to destroy it and turns them into nutrients to sustain its growth.

As Christians, shouldn’t we do the same?

Oh yes, there is one way to stop kudzu from growing – turn an ole goat loose on it. Eventually, the goat will kill it. So it is with Christianity and the church. All it takes is one ole goat to kill it! I call it Billy Goat Religion.

Some people in the church are just like that ole Billy Goat – always butting something.

You’ve heard them:  “Preacher, I would go witness to others, ‘but’ – I would attend Sunday School, ‘but’ – I would tithe, ‘but!’ – I would pray, and read my Bible, ‘but’ – ‘but’ –  ‘but!’”  Yep.

Billy Goat religion will stop Spiritual growth just like real goats stop kudzu from growing.

Just a few passing thoughts on Kudzu and Christianity.

Brother Aaron

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