Back in the days when the government began to think that it had a right to think for the states and that it could solve all of the evils of the country by its paternalistic programs, it made a colossal blooper. In the 1930s, it introduced kudzu into the southeastern states as a conservation measure. What it didn't know, but should have found out before taking action, is that kudzu is a plant which once rooted cannot be routed. In the fifty years since its introduction, it has all but overtaken the South.

Kudzu was brought to the United States from Japan. How they handle it there, I don't know; but I can tell you from personal experience that it has gone wild in the United States. Kudzu is a vine with giant leaves and a propensity for crawling (not creeping) and climbing. It grows eagerly without the slightest assistance. The saying down here is that, if you stand still for five minutes, it will twine itself up one leg, around your trunk, and climb out your arm looking for new territory to conquer. You can almost see it grow. It covers everything in sight. It climbs to the top of 100-foot trees; it covers hills and fields; it will cover your house and everything you own if you do not continually cut it back. It is the most visible evidence of entropy that I know of.

You can only defeat kudzu temporarily. You can spray it, and it will recede for a time; but after a year or so it will have returned with new vigor and strength. It will not burn, animals will not eat it (I once staked out a goat in a huge patch of kudzu, and it wouldn't so much as nibble on it, but it ate everything else in sight). It sends down roots every so often so that you would go crazy just trying to uproot it.

Kudzu will ever be the symbol of so many things to me. It is like sinful habits once rooted; it is a perpetual reminder of the ever returning effects of the mistakes we made in the past; it is like the nations Israel did not drive out of the land, which continually caused them grief. So many applications of the kudzu lesson spring to mind!

What is the kudzu in your life? Unlike the Southerner who vainly struggles with kudzu, Christ can root the most stubborn sin out of your life; He can replace sinful patterns with biblical ones (I have often wondered whether there is another plant with which to replace kudzu). He can take those past failures that come back to bother you and turn those liabilities into assets.

Is there a good use for kudzu? A local newspaper said it is edible, something like spinach. I can't tell you; I haven't tried munching on it. But there must be some use for the stuff. Whoever learns to harvest and use it will make a fortune. But one thing is for sure, nothing comes into a Christian's life, even his mistakes and failures, that, handled by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be turned to good. He loves to make the wrath of man to praise Him. Others may complain and gripe; you, Christian, have the joyous challenge of demonstrating how the grace of Christ can transform the kudzu of your life into a blessing to the honor of His Name.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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