Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43; The Problem with Weeds
My father hated weeds!
He loved gardening—but weeds were his passion!
Every free moment pulling weeds…
Every free moment pulling weeds;
On the way to the mailbox;
Talking to a neighbor over the back fence;
Sitting on the patio enjoying a nice cool glass of iced tea;
On the way to church.
His passion affected my childhood: I had to work in HIS garden.
I did not have a passion for weeds.
It seemed that Saturdays were RESERVED for weeding.
I hated the dandelion tool & the instructions: pluck us the roots!
I was a slave to a passionate weeder.
I braved the hot sun—sweat dripping off my nose;
Deep roots; thorny weeds, buzzing bugs, humid air,
And the constant torture!
ONE DAY I REBELLED!
I was 15 years old and in love!
My family was moving from Iowa to Winchester, VA in 2 weeks.
Dad was living in Winchester with his new job—soon join him.
My mother, sister, brother and I were busy packing…
And saying goodbyes… I didn’t want to move!
I knew it was inevitable so I wanted to spend as much time with my girlfriend as possible—at 15 love is very real!
Mom felt like I HAD spent as much time as possible.
She asked me to spend MY Saturday mowing the lawn and weeding HER flower garden.
Mowing the grass wasn’t too bad.
Weeding was horrible.
She had a beautiful rose garden—overgrown with weeds.
Besides…we were moving.
We were leaving that stupid flower garden.
I could think of a lot of things I would rather do…
It’s unfair! It’s not right! Besides, Dad is not home!
I got out the lawn mower to cut the grass.
I cut the front yard.
I cut the side yard.
I cut the back yard.
THEN I WEEDED THE GARDEN WITH THE LAWN MOWER!
I leveled everything—those horrible weeds and the lovely roses.
I was very efficient: not a weed was left; not a flower was left.
The only thing that remained was Mom’s WRATH!
None of my excuses seemed to make any difference at all!
I am not proud of this rebellion—but it illustrates a point.
The problem with weeds = they are always present!
In my selfish immature reasoning: the flowers were weeds.
They were an obstacle to my desire to see my girlfriend.
Weeds are weeds only by definition
Webster’s dictionary defines weeds: any plant you do not want growing in a particular spot.
I didn’t want those roses: for me they were weeds.
I WAS WRONG! But at the time I thought I was right!
I WAS PUNISHED! With time the event was forgiven & forgotten.
Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
The tares = specific problem for the farmer
1. No one could tell them apart.
Tare = bearded darnell grass
As a young plant—impossible to tell it from the real wheat
Even an experienced farmer could not tell the difference
PROBLEM WITH WEEDS: NO ONE CAN TELL THEM APART
It was the custom for a farmer to go into his field 2 or 3 times during a growing season, pull all the weeds, burn them.
Impossible with tares in a wheat field.
Pulling the tares would destroy much wheat.
2. Roots of tares and wheat intermingle
Pulling up the tares would also pull up the wheat.
You couldn’t destroy the weeds without destroying the wheat.
3. You must allow the wheat and tares to grow together
This was also a problem for the farmer: reduce the harvest.
Not as much wheat can grow if tares grow right beside it.
JESUS’ INTERPRETATION OF THE PARABLE
Jesus is NOT giving tips on farming procedures—he doesn’t have an Agricultural degree from Virginia Tech.
Jesus is describing the Kingdom of Heaven.
He is not talking about tares and wheat: but about PEOPLE.
Peanuts Cartoon: Charlie Brown is confronted by Lucy, who says:
“Charlie Brown, you are the crabgrass in the lawn of life.”
For Lucy, Charlie Brown is a weed—a hindrance, undesirable, a sore spot that keeps life from being what she thinks it should be.
We sometimes think the same way:
People are like dandelions you want to pluck up;
People are like weeds that we want to destroy;
Even in Church: we are aware of the tares in our field!
Those people with great ideas but never follow thru;
Those Rumormongers who pass on a damaging bit of gossip and call it a prayer request.
Those demanding souls who drain the energy out of the budget and then leave in a huff over some slight.
Those immature people who want EVERYTHING done their own way and if not: they mow down the flowers as weeds.
We think we know WHO the weeds are in our Church.
We think we know WHO the weeds are in our Community.
We think we know WHO the weeds are in our Nation.
We think we know WHO the weeds are in our world.
We have our little lists of weeds that need to be pulled up
This poses a problem for Christian farmers: problem with weeds.
1. We cannot tell the difference—weeds look like flowers
2. We cannot separate them—weeds and flowers intermingle
3. We must allow them to grow together—even if we have a reduced crop
Jesus warns us not to pull the weeds in our Church/Community
Such attempts are PREMATURE—it is not harvest time.
No one can know whether a person is wheat or weed.
Such attempts DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD.
Pulling weeds also destroys the good wheat.
Such attempts results in disturbing & losing the faithful while seeking to eliminate the unfaithful.
The task of judging between good and evil belongs to Christ only.
We are not to judge but work at reconciliation.
We are not to cast stones but forgive without limitation.
We need to put away our lawn mowers and our immaturity.
We need to repent of our desires for an easy solution/quick fix.
We need to change our immature attempts to make people righteous.
ONLY CHRIST HAS THAT POWER!
Christ is working through the power of the cross.
Christ is working through the power of the resurrection.
Christ is working through the transformation of the inner person.
Christ is pruning us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christ is weeding out our tares/weeds like a master gardener.
Christ is producing good fruit for all the world to enjoy.
Christ will bring the final harvest on the LAST DAY.
Christ will separate the weeds (evil) from the wheat (righteous).
Christ will burn the weeds.
Christ will gather the good grain into his Kingdom forever.
THIS PARABLE IS GOOD NEWS: DO NOT FRET OVER WEEDS!
Neither their present nor their future is your responsibility.
God will bring history to a close with justice.
The saints will be freed from abuse and oppression.
“The righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!” (Matthew 13:43)