Culling Cuckaburrows

July 15, 2018
by Martin Wiles

Matthew 13:30 – Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn. (NLT)

Pulling cuckaburrows was a new experience for me in farm life.

Visiting my maternal grandparents on the farm was always enjoyable. Every day was a new adventure, doing things that I had never experienced in the city. Along with my cousin, we'd pile into my grandfather's blue Chevy truck and head to the farm.

As my grandfather drove down the roads dividing the fields of cotton, he pointed out cuckaburrows. Like many other words my grandparents used, this one isn't in the dictionary. These invaders were thorny weeds that often grew alongside the cotton. They were easy to spot as they matured. When my grandfather did, he'd send my grandmother, my cousin, and me into the fields to pull them up.

"Be careful not to pull up the cotton," he'd caution. Sometimes, this was precarious because they grew so close together.

Jesus once said something similar when He told a parable about a farmer who was asked if weeds should be pulled from the wheat field. Unlike my grandfather, his instruction was to leave them until the harvest time. Then, they would be separated into their respective places.

Like the tares of Jesus' day, these weeds represented things that shouldn't be in the cotton field. If left alone, they would take over, preventing the cotton plants from growing and producing as my grandfather intended.

My cuckaburrows represent things that shouldn't be in my life. Left there, they will stunt my spiritual growth or even keep me from Christ initially. Sinful choices and sinful relationships invite thorns into my life. Some aren't sinful; they merely interfere with my service to Christ. Like my grandfather, Christ tells me to pull them up.

Ridding my life of prickly invaders takes intentional effort. I could have looked at them in the cotton field all day long, but they would never have gone away. I had to leave the truck, walk into the field, and remove them. Cuckaburrows interfere with my being the salt and light that Jesus wants me to be in this world. Spiritual disciplines spread poison on them.

Ask God to show you your cuckaburrows. Then pull them up so you can be successful in your work for Him.

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us the power to rid our lives of things that hinder our witness and service for You. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    I will do that.


    Thanks, Martin, for sharing this devotional with us. May God continue to bless your writing. Blessings.


    Dear brother Martin,
    Culling Cuckaburrows, what a wonderful, easy to understand and take to heart Devotional! Thank you, so well written, such a great spiritual illustration.
    God bless!


    Hi Martin,
    Never heard of cuckaburrows before, a good comparison though to the things which happen in our lives. Thank you for writing.


    Amen Martin!


    Dear Martin Wiles,
    I had always thought of cuckaburrows as birds:
    “Cuckaburrow sits in an old gum tree, Merry, merry king of the bush is he.” rather than as weeds.
    But your example is well-used: Get rid of that which is not productive in God’s way in my life.
    Thank you. Keep writing.

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