2015-06-05 - God's Garden: Wheat and Weeds
Next we see an impending meaning for the world - this is the layer Jesus revealed that day to his disciples, in his explanation that followed. Jesus is very clear, in this explanation, that he wants them to think of the field not just as his followers - the church - but the whole world. Where he reigns is not just the church; the whole world is God's kingdom - the church is just God's people within his kingdom.
The bad news is that the world is getting worse - weeds are growing. The good news is the world is getting better - wheat is growing, too. We are stuck with weeds, but there's encouraging news, too. He is promising growth to his followers, despite its unpromising start. The church will survive until harvest, no matter how many weeds crop up. The gates of Hell will not prevail against it, according to Matthew 16:18. It is also encouraging that God is in control - even with weeds, it is still his field. Satan may cause damage, but God's seed will still grow and be harvested. God does not react to Satan's plans; rather, God made the plans, and the devil tries to keep those from working, but he fails.
In unpacking this meaning, I see three questions. The first two are directly from the story, whereas the third is more about the reason for the story.
- Where does evil come from? There is no answer, but from the story, we know it was from men sleeping. It was not while God the owner slept, but while men slept. While we slept, prayer was removed from school. While we slept, murder of children for the sake of convenience became the way of the land. While we slept, immorality has crept into every form of entertainment. While we slept, marriage has ceased to be something sacred between one man and one woman. The word that shocked the world in Gone with the Wind, is now acceptable by cartoon characters in primetime television. Satan works while we sleep - dumb, fat, and happy in our La-Z-Boy recliners.
- Should we take care of it? The answer is a clear no. For its height, wheat doesn't have deep roots. It's easily uprooted; weeds, on the other hand, have roots as big as my arm - and seem to go 6 ft deep. As a side note, let me just say that our roots don’t need to be deep - we're not made to stay in this world. We're planted here for a short while, so we can go into God's barn. It's fine to have zeal, but don’t get overzealous. Now isn't the time for weeding, nor are you the one who will do it. Just be good seed, and grow as good wheat. Look at how often the church has become overzealous, and tried to weed the world: the Crusades, the Spanish inquisition, the Salem witch hunts, blowing up abortion clinics. When we weed, we tear things up and make a mess. Let God do his job, and let us do our job. Romans 14:4a (NASB) says, "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls."
- Why is there conflict? The whole story seems to answer this question. There is an enemy. There is bad seed in the field. They can't be separated until harvest. Christians still sin, and sinners still do good, so it's hard to tell, based on appearance or public behavior. Like the servants, we want to rush in and remove the weeds. God, through his angels, will harvest into the fire or into the divine barns, when harvest time comes. Third, we can see an individual meaning for every person. The world can also be interpreted as each and every person in the world. John 3:16, for example, doesn't mean "For God so loved the planet," but rather "For God so loved all the people on the planet," so it is possible to see it at other levels. God made man good - Adam and Eve. He sowed perfect seed in them. Man let his guard down, and the devil snuck in and planted bad seed in his life.
That seed of temptation was allowed to grow into the weed of sin. All of the world - every person - has good and bad seed in them. Both good and bad grow. We are all sinners, but God is patient, and he lets our lives play out to the end, so that as much fruit as possible can be produced. In the end, all bad in true believers will be removed - we will finally be saved completely from sin.
To be continued next week.
Author's Note: this devotional is based on a sermon I preached on 5/16/2010, but I hope that the
words will ring as truth to you, as they did with the original audience.
All scripture references from KJV (King James Version) unless otherwise noted
CFD | June 2015
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