Matthew 13:24-30- 36-43 (click for full reading)
“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.” —Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
The Garden of Good and Evil
(Click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
We are in the midst of three weeks in Matthew 13 – as Jesus talks to a group of followers and his disciples about the Kingdom of God. It’s easy to read these parable and think they are only about plants and gardens, but it’s important to keep the Kingdom of God at the front of our minds. Jesus is telling those listening (and us) that the Kingdom of God doesn’t always work the way we think it should. Today’s text is no different.
When we have weeds infest our gardens, we pull them out. In today’s lesson, as weeds begin to grow amidst the wheat, the workers in the field ask the owner if they should pull up these weeds, and the owner says no. Let them be until the harvest. (Man, I wish I would have known about this verse when my parents asked ME to go weed when I was a kid. “Mom, I can’t go pick weeds, God told me to let them grow”!) We think the right thing to do is pull out the weeds. But Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God is different. God is asking us to let him take care of the weeds. It’s tough. We like to point out the bad stuff and focus on the evil in the world (simply turn on the news for proof of this one). We live in a world of wheat and weeds – of good and evil – and when God asks us to let him take care of the weeds, I think that means God also wants us to focus on the good.
We are the soil. Often we think we’re the wheat in this story, but we aren’t. We’re the soil. We are both wheat and weeds. Sometimes we are more wheat than weeds, sometimes more weeds than wheat. But what God wants from us isn’t to spend time lamenting our weeds, or trying to figure out ways to get those weeds out, but to focus on the wheat. I think that while we are letting God take care of the weeds, we can still make it tough for them to grow. When we focus on growing our wheat, they thrive in spite of the weeds that are also present. So today – and each day, we can choose to focus on the wheat. And God will take care of us, weeds and all.
Questions to ponder/discuss:
1. What things in your life are wheat? (spouse, job, friends, kids, joy, sense of humor, intelligent mind, kind heart, etc)
2. What things in your life are weeds?
3. What are some ways you could change your focus away from the weeds and instead turn your focus to the wheat?
4. What are some ways you help your wheat grow?
Make a “wheat” list this week. Take some time and write down all the things in your life that you would consider wheat.
Then look over your list, and determine how you might help that wheat flourish. Lastly, take your list and thank God for each and every thing on it.