Hi everyone. Rob here.
As we seek to interpret the times we’re living in, I find that it’s hard to go past Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30. A farmer plants good seed in his field but an enemy comes at night and plants weeds among the wheat. They both grow together. The farmer decides to wait until the time of harvest before uprooting the weeds, separating them from the wheat and burning them. He doesn’t do it before because he’s concerned the wheat will be uprooted at the same time. Only when it’s mature can the wheat be separated safely from the weeds. The parable is a metaphor. Jesus has sown the good seed of the kingdom of God. The devil and his agents plant weeds representing evil, but there will be a time of reckoning when they both reach their zenith. Matthew 13:40-43 says this:
Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
Good and evil are growing in our world at the same time. The Kingdom of God is expanding and maturing but the weeds of evil are trying to choke it, hold it back and take as many down with them as they can.
For most of us, the future hope of ‘shining like the sun in God’s kingdom’ doesn’t seem as real and urgent as the weeds that are trying to choke the life out of us. Let’s face it, if we receive 10 compliments and 1 insult, we dwell on the insult. If the future for our income looks uncertain, but there’s enough for today we worry about the future. Too often we choose fear over faith; timidity instead of courage; anger instead of thankfulness; cynicism over joy and the forces of hatred and resentment over love. The weeds are obvious but the kingdom is growing and it’s the kingdom that will last.
Why is it so hard to focus on the ever-expanding Kingdom of God? In the same chapter Jesus describes the kingdom as being like yeast or mustard seeds. It’s unseen but it’s working it’s way through the dough; it’s slowly taking over the garden. The work of the kingdom isn’t obvious. We need the eyes of our hearts opened so that we can see. Jesus saw the kingdom in the hated people called the Samaritans. He saw it in dishonoured people like poor widows and Galilean fishermen. He saw it in women in a male dominated world and in children in an adult-dominated world. He sees it in you and he sees it in me.
There are wheat and weeds in the world and there are wheat and weeds in every person, including you and I. We tend to give power to the weeds but the real power belongs to the wheat. Gods kingdom is forever and it is planted in you. In a pandemic world the weeds feel powerful, but they’re not. Fear, despair and grief are temporary. Faith, hope and love are permanent. We need to align ourselves with them every day, especially in times like these. The kingdom invites us. Let’s say yes.
Grace and peace.