July 18, 1999

Matthew 13:24-30

Jesus then told them this story:

The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a farmer scattered good seed in a field. But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and scattered weed seeds in the field and then left.

When the plants came up and began to ripen, the farmer's servants could see the weeds. The servants came and asked, "Sir, didn't you scatter good seed in your field?"

"An enemy did this," he replied.

His servants then asked, "Do you want us to go out and pull up the weeds?"

"No!" he answered. "You might also pull up the wheat. Leave the weeds alone until harvest time. Then I'll tell my workers to gather the weeds and tie them up and burn them. But I'll have them store the wheat in my barn." [CEV]


1. We sometimes have a tendency to put God in the place of the farmer. This runs into interesting imagery with a sleeping farmer/God that an enemy can sneak up on. But then there is always the question of the snake in the garden to deal with. If you don't like that image of a frailer and more fallible God than you are used to, how do you see an image of heaven here?

2. One of the traditional statements about human beings is that we are simultaneously saint and sinner (wheat and weed). Is this about each wheat plant being as precious as a hair on one's head or a falling sparrow? Is this a warning about unintended consequences, for to root out the weed risks the wheat and heaven puts up with a lot of weeds that not one extra wheat be lost.

3. Isn't it interesting that the farmer seems less upset about this than the servants. Do they sense their work is in jeopardy and so they must appear to be zealous in the protection of the farmer? Might this be going on in our lives as we get more zealous about rooting out that which we take to be "weedy" than our God does? God seems to be more generous with time than we are. Some things, being able to tell good fruit/lives from others, takes some simmering and seasoning before the chaff will be ripe enough to blow away of its own accord. Here in the growing season, just cool it and let God be God.

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