Richard looked forward to sleeping in on the first day of summer break.  But, now that Richard had turned 10 his overworked mother had other ideas.  This summer she planned for Richard to wake up early and water the flowers in her flower bed.  They lived in the hot, dry desert and she didn’t want him spending too much time in the hot sun.

Every morning Richard awoke at 6am to the sound of banging on his bedroom door and the voice of his mother commanding him to get out of bed immediately.  He grumpily rolled out of bed and made his way down the stairs in a haze.  He did enjoy the feel of the still cool pavement on his feet as he lazily sprinkled just enough water to make the dirt look wet before crawling in bed and going back to sleep.

Richards 15-year-old sister didn’t care how long he slept.  He usually got up about 11am and ate a bowl of cereal for lunch, watched some cartoons and played video games while his sister spent most of the day on her cell phone talking to friends.  Finally out of boredom and to get away from the endless chatter of his sister,  he would go out side and take the watering hose to the empty lot behind their house.  At the beginning of the summer a few weeds managed to push themselves up through the dry rock hard soil.  But, as Richard played with the watering hose in the empty lot the weed seeds sprouted and grew like the bean stalk Jack had planted many years before.

A month later when Richard’s mother opened her water bill she nearly fell over from shock.  Her water bill had never been so exorbitant.  She knew Richard only half heartedly watered the flowers in the morning, but he did water them enough so they were all still alive.  She looked out the window from where she sat at kitchen table with the bills.  She had never seen the vacant lot look so lush with vegetation.  She wished her flower bed looked as green and studded with colorful flowers.  Then a possibility dawned on her.  “RICHARD”, she called.  Richard soon learned the hard way that it was not a wise choice to use the water to irrigate the weeds in the vacant lot while just barely sprinkling the flowers in the flower bed.

Fast forward 20 years: A busy Richard occasionally reads a morning devotional and goes to church when his mother calls and begs him to go with her.  He spends most of his free time after work watching his big screen, HDTV, surfing the net on his 15″ Macbook Pro or wasting time with his friends.  He usually wakes at 7am to be able to arrive to work on time, but one morning he had a dream that served as a real wake up call.

He dreamt his mom was banging on the door and telling him it was time to get up and water the flowers.  As he took the hose to follow her orders he was saddened to see how pathetic and wilty the flowers looked, really just barely alive.  Then he heard a voice calling to him, “Feed me!” His eyes turned to the voice where he saw the back lot of his old house completely overgrown with weeds that were so huge they were choking out anything and everything in their way.  One of them seem to have formed a mouth and was yelling for Richard to come feed them all!  With a sudden jerk, Richard awoke and with relief realized it was just a dream.  But, as he lay in bed trying to make sense of the dream, he remembered what his mom had told him that fateful day about spending more time watering the flowers and to not spend time watering the weeds.  Then he was sure he heard a still small voice whispering to him, “This dream applies to your spiritual life.”  Suddenly it seemed so clear to him;  It doesn’t pay to spend just a few minutes in the morning quickly reading a devotional he probably wouldn’t remember and certainly wouldn’t apply to his life, while the rest of the day he spent “watering the weeds” that would do nothing but choke out the beautiful things God wanted to plant in his life.  That day after work, Richard stopped by the florist and bought two rose bushes.  One for him and one for his mother.