Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Matthew 13:24-30

24 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

27 “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’

28 “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.

“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 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.’”

S - Scripture

25 - But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.

O - Observation

This is a concise and profound parable. It challenges today's civil religion. First, the presence of Satan exists. This is consistent with John 10:10 - The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. Second, this parable clearly depicts Jesus does not embrace universalism. This is consistent with many of the parables we will look at in the next few weeks. (See Matthew 25:31-46)

This is a story about farming, but it is a metaphor about life. Good seed is planted in our life. By God and by others. Weeds are also planted in our life. By Satan and by others. A battle occurs in each of us between the good and the bad, the sacred and the profane, and the holy and the unholy.

It's interesting that the tares are not allowed to be pulled. Good reasons exist. In the early stages of development, the wheat and the tares look very similar. It would be impossible to separate them. By the time the wheat and the tares are distinguishable, they are so intertwined that pulling the tears would also pull the wheat. The implication is this: It is not humanity's job to judge others. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount: Do not judge others. -Matthew 7:1 Only the Harvester is capable of separating the two.

A - Application

So we live in a culture with the good and the bad and the righteous and the evil. It is virtually impossible and not desirable to remove ourselves from the culture we live in. Jesus challenges us to be light to a dark world. To be sowers of good seed. The challenge for me and and the challenge of you is to live in the world, but not to be of the world. One application is to influence culture with the Gospel and not to allow our participation in the Gospel to be influenced by culture.

The other application for me is to love and not to judge. My vocation is to help the wheat and the tares (read: the good and the not so good) to thrive and flourish in life. God is the judge. And this is a good thing since it is much more joyful and fun to love than it is to judge and since God is much more qualified to judge than I am.

P - Prayer

Almighty God, I recognize that I live in a world that is imperfect and sometimes bad. I also recognize that I am part of that imperfection and part of that badness. I ask You to help me plant good seed. Allow me to partner with you in bringing goodness to the world. Help me to love people I don't understand. Let me be a light to a dark world and let me point people to You. It is so easy for me to judge. Instead of judging and pointing fingers and making false assumptions, I want to listen to others and understand them. I want to see other through Your eyes and offer your love, your grace, and your power to all people. Help me to love and not to judge. Amen.

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog