All that moss is part of the charm. We’ve had people try to tell us to remove it. “It’s a parasite,” they tell us, a common misconception. Actually, it’s a bromeliad, related to the pineapple. According to the Sarasota County Forestry Division, Spanish moss, the beard of ancient live oaks, does not jeopardize the trees. It does not steal nutrients. It is an air plant that prefers to perch on horizontal limbs like those of live oaks, which provide more access to sunlight and water than vertical limbs. It processes its food from the rainwater that runs off the leaves and limbs of the trees. Nothing is stolen from the tree. Just look around. Moss even hangs from power lines and fences, and it seems to prefer dead trees to live ones. So much for the myth that it’s a parasite.
However, the moss can become so thick that it shades the leaves of the trees from the sunshine, the thing necessary for photosynthesis. During the rainy season, thick moss can become so heavy that it breaks branches.
I think Spanish moss must be a little like worry. Let’s dismiss the notion that any worry at all is a sin. Paul talks about “the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches,” 2 Cor 11:28. He may not use the word “worry,” but that is exactly what he is talking about—anxiety, care, concern, the “daily pressure.” Sometimes that emotion is legitimate and we become petty when we start forbidding certain words while accepting the feelings as long as we call it something else.
Yet worldly care and worry can rob us of our spirituality and our usefulness to God. It can make us “unfruitful,” Mark 4:19. It can “entangle” us in worldly pursuits, 2 Tim 2:4. It can tell tales about our hearts with misplaced priorities, Luke 12:22,23, doubt, Luke 12:29, and lack of faith, Matt 6:30. All of that can choke the word right out of us and when trials come, instead of trusting a God who loves us and provides our needs, we may break from the stress.
If you have trouble with worry, camp awhile in Matthew 6. Don’t you understand, Jesus asks, that life is more than food and clothing, v 25? Don’t you know that God loves you even more than he loves the birds and the flowers, vv 26,30? Are you so arrogant that you think your worry will fix anything, v 27? Don’t you have more faith than the heathens, vv 30,32? Jesus always has a way of laying it on the line, doesn’t he?
While there may be legitimate concerns, things we pray about even in agony as Jesus did in Gethsemane, and there may be good things that occupy our minds, like our care for the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church and the spiritual progress of our children, don’t let the trivial things, the things of this life that you can’t do anything about anyway, become such a heavy burden that you break under its weight. Rid yourself of the moss that robs you of the Light. “Let not your hearts be troubled,” Jesus said, John 14:27. He came to bring us peace instead.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27