Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
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?’
‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.
‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.
‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 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.’
Wow! I got SO much out of reading and reflecting on this parable this morning! Here are some of the observations and thoughts I had:
- At the end, the good sower (the Lord) separates the wheat and weeds. It’s not my job – or place – to attack, destroy, or “pull up” those who are “weeds.” God is sovereign; I am not.
- There’s a balance for me to strike in taking a stand against evil and unrighteousness, but not going too far (pulling the weeds).
- The separation of the wheat and weeds doesn’t happen til the end. Jesus-followers will encounter the weeds of the enemy their whole lives. Whether they come in the form of people who he is commandeering, situations, lies, etc. — we can anticipate this for the long haul. And it’s FOR OUR GOOD that we do.
- On that note, it’s fascinating that God allows the enemy to come in. First, it was our choice to let him in (starting with Adam and Eve and extending all the way to this present generation). He loves us so much that He gives us that choice. Second, in experiencing the weeds and choking of the enemy (weeds choke the roots of crops), we can truly appreciate and experience the love of God. God really, really want to love us and wants us to know His love. This parable underscores that.
- God won’t risk uprooting the wheat. He won’t risk harming those who are His. He will tolerate weeds and evil because if anyone were to pull them out, they “may root up the wheat with them.” Wow. What a patient, enduring, gracious love. We can trust Him. He is good.
- Pulling up weeds can harm wheat. Attacking non-believers can harm believers. I grieve in my spirit daily for damage inflicted on a close loved one 50 years ago by believers who sought to “pull up the weeds.”
- Wheat in a field of weeds WILL stand out. We have two options – group together and hide, for fear of being contaminated or choked by the weeds. Or stand out even more through inexplicable displays of love, in faith that our love will contaminate and change the weeds.
- This is a powerful picture of spiritual warfare and truth. For example, it is when we are resting, think we’re safe, or not paying attention that the enemy comes in. Everyone must sleep – and it’s then that the enemy sneaks in.
- Also, the enemy is the chief copycat. He has no original ideas. His whole aim is simply to take God’s place. So he sows too. His work can look a lot like God’s work. For awhile.
- But then, as the wheat sprouts and form heads, the weeds appear. As we start to display evidence of spiritual fruit and growth, then all of a sudden we become aware of all the enemy’s efforts to choke us out. The more growth we experience, the more opposition we experience. It can be intimidating. But, then, see #7.
- I love the “No.” It’s like the servants anticipate an affirmative response, but the owner surprises them by saying they should let the weeds grow with the wheat. His ways are not our ways; and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Jonah was a weed puller. Elijah was a weed puller. And they were mighty servants of God with a purpose. But our Lord encompasses all their justice and righteousness AND surpasses it with His unfailing love and mercy.
- Gotta love the “Let both grow together until the harvest.” Whoa. Let the weeds grow? Water them, fertilize them, care for them in the same way? Regardless of the fact that they are not Christians? The rain falls on both the just and unjust, though. The tenderness of our father’s heart is so evident in this statement. As are His mysterious ways – remember, He is the one who feasted and drank (yes, alcohol) with sinners.