THE LESSON OF THE COCKLEBUR

When I was a boy milking several cows each morning and night, I dreaded the cocklebur season. In late summer this prolific weed turned brown, and its seed pods, each armed with dozens of sharp spines, caught in the cows' tails until the animals' fly switchers were transformed into mean whips. One hard switch of such a tail in the milker's face made him lose considerable religion.

So I learned to hate the cocklebur.

Later, comfortably removed from the dairy industry, I learned a remarkable fact about the cocklebur: its sticky seed pod contains several seeds, not just one. And these seeds germinate in different years. Thus, if seed A fails to sprout next year because of a drought, seed B will be there waiting for year after next, and seed C the year after that, waiting until the right conditions for germination arrive.

I realized this delayed response is similar to the way the Word of God operates. Ministers may preach "Oh, why not tonight?"-certainly a good question. But some people may not ...

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