The Parable of the Weeds
Matthew 13:24-30 (36-43)
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
(36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.) (NIV)
When you think of Harvest, what words come to mind? Thanksgiving, provision, reaping what you sow, gleaning, tithing. Today's passage is only in the Gospel of Matthew, but a similar text appears in the Gospel of Thomas written around 150-200 AD. The reading very much reminds us God has sown good seeds, but it is the enemy that has sown weeds. I want us to think of the field as being our hearts. When we are born, God gives us good seeds; our hearts are full. Traits, such as racism and discrimination, will be taught by society.
This idea reminds me of a story about an old Cherokee:
One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute then asked: “Which wolf wins?” Very quietly, the old Cherokee simply replied: “The one you feed.”
I think this is a wonderful story and is absolutely true. What we read and what we see, who we are with, everything we do, feeds us. It feeds the good but can also feed the bad parts of our heart. So, we need to reflect upon how we look after ourselves, how we form our prejudices and think about what things we need to change to make sure the bad seeds do not get nourished, but the good seed is fed.
It seems to me the whole reason of God dwelling among us, creating the human race, giving us free will, was so that we could voluntarily choose love. In the decisions we make, we bring to the fore our experiences, our wisdom and our heart - both the good and the bad. So, if we remember that God wants us to choose love and to form a relationship with God, then let us remember that every decision we make should also be based on love.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon