Parable of weeds and the wheat Mt. 13, 24 - 30 (in excerpts)
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.
The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?” “No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time, I will tell the harvesters: first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles in order to burn them; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”
The other day I passed a field where rye was growing. But among the rye, I saw field thistles. The parable, which Jesus told came to mind at once. The field thistles in the rye field were growing of course naturally without an evil neighbor. This was not an enmity between two farmers. But Jesus wants to tell us a spiritual truth with this parable: in our world, amid God's creation, in the midst of his justice, there is very much injustice growing, very much enmity against the holy God. In our world, amid peace, there is discord growing at the same time. Where good grows, there is also much evil, and both grow and mature together.
Sometimes I have the impression that the evil, the bad, is far greater than the good that people do. It often looks as if in the midst of a large field of weeds, only a few ears of wheat are still growing, only a little good is maturing. But that may be my very limited, human view. Jesus tells me in this parable that he is concerned with the good fruit. Every ear of wheat, every fruit is quite valuable for God. None of it must be lost. No matter how small the fruit may be. Not a grain of love must be lost.
Dear readers, your faith in Jesus Christ is precious. Everything that grows out of this faith in love and good deeds is precious and valuable to God. God definitely wants to keep it for eternity. God wants to bring the good into his "barn" one day. At the same time, God allows even the works of the devil to grow and mature in God's world. God does not uproot them, even though I often wish he would. I must endure that evil is also present in our world, that it even grows and matures. I must witness it and I do suffer from it.
That is why there is no such thing as a "pure" church. Even in the most pious church, unrighteousness, disbelief, and selfishness can grow alongside faith, love and discipleship. Yes, it can even happen within myself. I can see this as an example with Simon Peter. After the Lord's Supper, Jesus says to his disciple Simon (Lk. 22: 31+32):
‘Simon, Simon pay attention, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And after you will have returned to me, strengthen your brothers.’
Returning to Jesus again and again is vitally important. We may know that our Lord Jesus sees our struggles in faith, and He prays for us. He knows us inside and outside. He knows our doubts and temptations. He knows not only the good deeds in our lives, but also the "field thistles" in our hearts.
This parable gives me a lot of courage. I know that Jesus Christ sees my faith (and my disbelief) and that He is there for me. He wants me to reach heaven, as my ultimate goal of faith, despite my "field thistles." He wants and He will give me his blessings in the process.
I do also know that the Lord Jesus Christ knows all the wrong and all the evil in this world. But he does not destroy it. He does not uproot it. For he will hold judgment one day. What has been done out of love for God will then be able to stand for eternity. But all wickedness will find a severe condemnation.
I invite you to a prayer:
Jesus Christ, my Lord, and my God,
I thank you that you know me and love me. In all temptations and trials, you are close to me, and you will help me. You want to guard and protect me in a world where wickedness grows and the bad fruits of hate, violence and selfishness ripen. I ask you for all those who have to suffer from the injustice in this world. I ask you for your help for the many people in the crisis areas. I ask you for my church in the place where I live. Let faith grow and love, as in a fertile field. Make my heart a fertile field for you. Amen.
May our good Lord bless you and protect you in spirit, soul and body.