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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“He put another parable before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?” He said to them, “An enemy has done this.” So the servants said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he said, “No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”—Matthew 13:24-30 (ESV)
As a former teacher, I have an appreciation for the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds. I had students who were in it for the long haul. They did their best, followed instructions, and had the end in mind: graduation. They were the wheat of the classroom. Then there were the weeds. They were the students with no commitment. They allowed the influence of one bad seed to lead them astray. All students had the same opportunity to learn the curriculum and move forward. Yet, when graduation time came, the weeds were absent and the wheat walked the stage.
But what was my role in their success? That is where this parable impacted me vocationally. Verse 25 (emphasis added) of today’s Scripture reads, “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds.” My responsibility as their teacher was not to turn aside or be lazy in how I tended to my students, lest the bad seed corrupt the good. Nor was it my place to uproot the bad, but to allow all “seeds” an equal opportunity to learn. Their own choices were their chosen consequences.
Here’s how this parable affects me spiritually: We are all growing in the field of God, yet Satan will plant his imposters to impede the growth of the crop. We share the honor of cultivating and tending His field to ensure that every member produces fruit. We cannot grow sleepy in this role. The apostle Paul advises us to not sleep but to remain awake and sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Writer Rudyard Kipling summed up this idea beautifully when he wrote, “Gardens are not made by saying, ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”
Tending God’s field requires vigilance. We must treat “weeds” with the same kindness Jesus shows us, for it is God’s kindness that leads sinners to repentance (Romans 2:4). Additionally, tending doesn’t involve uprooting. Often, well-intentioned Christians will attempt to determine who is a weed and who is not. But that’s God’s job. He knows a person’s heart, including our own. Solomon noted, “Like a farmer who separates wheat from the chaff, a wise king will decide who is wrong and crush them. Your spirit is like a lamp to the Lord. He is able to see into your deepest parts” (Proverbs 20:26-27 ERV). God is the Lord of the harvest.
Perhaps the overarching theme of this parable is to be vigilant in our care and examine our faith to determine whether we are rooted as wheat or weeds.
DIG: To learn more about the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds, read Jesus’ explanation of it in Matthew 13:36-43. You can even connect it to Isaiah 1:27-28.
DISCOVER: How do you identify yourself in the kingdom of God? Do you find yourself sometimes asleep in the field or wanting to just give up on the overgrowth of weeds?
DO: Prayerfully consider yourself as a worker in the kingdom of God. How vigilant are you in your own growth as well as the growth of others? Keep in mind that God is very patient, and He can make beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.