Are you expecting fruit to grow from a weed?

Testimony: “I’d spent my resources and time nurturing the wrong thing.”

Words: Cathy Graham Published: 14 March 2023

Cathy Graham, one of our regular Riverlifers, shares a lesson God taught her while out gardening as a Street Teams volunteer.


A few weeks ago, while I served on Street Teams, Pastor Ian encouraged us to ask the Lord what He had for each of us, and I received a word that was very appropriate for me. I would like to share it as it might encourage many of us at Riverlife as we head into this year… 


My team visited someone in their new home and the task was to clear out a lot of overgrown greenery. Instructions were given as to which trees were to be cut and which were to remain. Someone had been told that a particular tree was a Pawpaw Tree, to which I responded, “Ooh! How lovely! We will definitely keep that one in!”. And I thought about how great it was that she had a fruit tree in her new place for the family to enjoy the fruits. 


Toward the end of the morning, one of the team asked about this tree, and I piped up and said, “It’s a Pawpaw Tree – we need to leave it”. Another, clearly more knowledgeable, team member told us that it was actually an Umbrella Tree and it was an environmental weed! Ha. I remember thinking, “Oh dear, imagine if you were expecting to get a yield from that tree, mistakenly thinking it was a fruit tree, whereas it is actually a weed! Over time, how frustrating and disappointing would that be!” 


Throughout the week, God reminded me of this interaction, and I decided to Google ‘Umbrella Tree’. I found the following: 


Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) is regarded as an environmental weed in south-eastern Queensland (and other parts). The roots of this species are somewhat invasive. They can block plumbing joints and pipes as well as damaging footpaths and building foundations.    


I felt the Lord asking me what I had been mistakenly investing my time, energies and finances into, expecting a yield, and becoming disappointed and bitter because I wasn’t seeing any fruit? My misguided energies did not bear godly fruit, and beyond that, they had also been blocking the flow of good things from God, which had been damaging to the foundations of my faith. I had experienced disappointment and frustration because my resources and time had been spent nurturing the wrong thing.  


And lastly – I felt to question where I had been getting my information from? The expert (God) or something else that “seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov 14:12)?   


How fortunate we are that God is not content to leave us where we are and to our own devices, but that He intervenes and is faithful to set us right! He truly does know the desires of our heart. 


And lastly, my main job that morning was to pull out the very many weeds that populated the back area. There were some long, skinny green bits down the bottom in a corner, and I started to remove them to keep it looking clean and cleared. Someone on our team – an arborist – gently told me I was pulling out grass! Whoops! That particular grass looked so similar to the weeds, that it took an expert to identify the difference. Imagine if I had pulled out all the grass along with the weeds? The grass would not have been able to seed and spread. We need to go to the expert (our loving Father/Gardener), who will help us in our pruning process.  


How has God been talking to you lately? What lessons has He been teaching you? Send an email to and let us know!  

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