Matthew 13: 24-30
Today, I’d like to share at least three reasons why the Master, Jesus, said “no” to those who want to pull the weeds up from the field.
The first reason is that we are not skillful enough to separate the good from the bad. We usually intend to exterminate something like a weed, but when we bend over to pull up the weeds, grains of wheat fall out.
There is no plant surgeon alive who can extract the poisonous seed without killing some innocent bystanders. Thus, it is not worth it, so it may be better to let them all grow together until it is time to harvest.
A second reason to let the weeds grow is that they may turn out to be useful in the end. In first-century Palestine, the best way for heating and cooking fuel was dried weeds or manure. By letting the weeds and the wheat grow together, farmers had almost everything they needed to make bread—the wheat for the flour and the weeds for the fire. The only other thing farmers needed was a little patience, a little tolerance of the temporary mess.
The question remains for each of us whether we spend all of our time to attack the weeds or we devote the same amount of time to being wheat. The passage reminds us that surviving as wheat in a mixed field is going to take some effort, but it becomes a necessity for each of us.
The last reason I think the Master says “no” to pulling the weeds up is that the wheat runs the risk of turning into weeds itself. It is one of the trickiest things weeds do, to get the wheat so riled up and defensive that it starts acting like weeds themselves—good guys who turn into bad guys trying to put the bad guys out of business.
God allows a mixed field. God sends rain on the just and on the unjust whether we like it or not; whether we approve of it or not; and whether we understand it or not. What the Master asks of us is that we need to tolerate, and even grow with the weed in a mixed field both in the church and in the world.
This calling is a call to strenuous and lifelong activity. Our job, in a mixed and messy field,
is not to give ourselves to the enemy by devoting all our energy to the destruction of the weeds. Rather our job is to be wheat no matter how messy the field is—to go on bearing witness to the one who planted us.
These days, it is not easy being wheat, especially with so many weeds competing for the soil; however, what the Master seems to know is that the best and only real solution to evil is to bear good fruit through the practice of God’s love, even to the point that we love our enemies.