The Christian Lives as Wheat Among Weeds – Week of July 24, 2023
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
I like to garden—well, sort of. I like to plant things. Getting my hands in the soil with a sense of optimism for the seeds or seedlings I’m planting is very satisfying. I like to fertilize and water my garden or pots. I like to trim the bushes and any low hanging branches. All of these are really rewarding and relaxing for me. However, there they are—those nasty weeds. They stand upright almost mocking me with a sense of, “I dare you to try and get rid of me!” They often seem to be the strongest plants in the garden. Worse yet is early in the season when it’s almost impossible for a novice like me to distinguish between the desired plants and the weeds.
I had a colleague once who shared how much she loved weeding. Taken aback I asked, “You love to weed?” With a bit of a twinkle in her eye (no exaggeration), she wholeheartedly said, “Yes!”. She shared that the quiet of the activity combined with a sense of satisfaction really gave her joy. She also shared that the process of weeding was a reminder for her of God’s grace for us in this sin-ridden world. The relentless nature of weeds, their ability to overtake the garden if not kept in check, and their sometimes deceptive similarity to the desired plants in the garden reminded her of the sin all around us. And as she watched her plants grow, she was reminded of God’s loving nurture for our faith.
Sin is all around us and sin is in us. Everywhere we look, we see the impact of sin in the world. We hear about it in the news with the infighting and divisiveness of people in cities and states. We hear about it in wars around the globe. But we also see it in our own small part of the world. It can be subtle. Things in the world can slowly erode our thinking over time. What was once offensive and considered wrong, is now defended. What was once respected, is now attacked and criticized. Relationships that were strong, are strained or broken.
We can easily become discouraged. But take heart. You were planted and chosen by the Gardener, Jesus. It’s he who is watching over you and keeping you safe. Those weeds, the sin all around you and in you? He has conquered it on the cross. He wants us to keep our eyes, our hearts, our faith focused on him. Jesus wants us to know that the harvest is coming. Heaven is promised for those who have faith in him and he has kept that promise. And he wants us to know that he continues to care for us. We can be encouraged, be faithful, be at peace in the hands of the Gardener. And as you tend your own garden, remember the Gardener who loves you so dearly.
Dear Jesus, this world often feels like a mess because of sin. In many ways it is a mess. But it’s also an amazing world with the beauty of nature and evidence of your grace. Keep us close to you and protect us from the challenges of sin in this world. It’s in your name we pray. Amen
A Hymn to Consider:
Rise, My Soul, to Watch and Pray
Christian Worship 21 873
This hymn is such a great reminder to each of us. We can easily become complacent about the sin around and in us. This hymn calls us to be alert to sin and Satan’s efforts. Consider reading the whole hymn each day or one stanza a day.