Summary: The parable of the weeds and the wheat...We have to be careful and discerning, but we also have to trust Jesus to sort out the weeds and bless the wheat.
Be Careful Out There…But Trust Jesus
July 17, 2005
The “Star Wars” saga is now ended. I remember going to the first “Star Wars” movie with my wife and a couple of friends when I was in seminary. We had Episdoe IV, “Star Wars: A New Hope” and then Episode V, “The Empire Strikes Back” and then Episode VI, “The Return of the Jedi.” After a long wait we began to get the three prequel movies…Episode I, ”The Phantom Menace,” Episode II, “Attack of the Clones,” and now Episode III - “Revenge of the Sith.”
We now understand how Anikan Skywalker became Darth Vader. The circle has been closed. We now understand. If you remember the end of Episode VI, you will recall how Darth Vader made it known to Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia that he was their father. The good side of the force triumphed. Evil did not win.
How we wish real life were like the movies, but in real life, it doesn’t always seem to work that way. The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk struggled with these same issues of good verses evil and light verses dark. He in fact complains to God. He is right in God’s face. This is a tough time for Habakkuk and he really doesn’t understand what is going on.
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you, “Violence” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous – therefore judgment comes forth perverted. (Habakkuk 1:1-4).
The psalmist says, “…the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary…How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever? (Psalm 74:3, 10). The bad guys are winning here, and the good guys don’t like it.
We as a society really like it when the guilty get what’s coming to them. We’re glad when the bozos of the world get their comeuppance. We’re happy when the culpable are punished. We’re glad when Bernie Eppers gets 25 years in the grey bar hotel for ravaging Worldcom. We’re thankful when justice is swift and sure, with an emphasis on swift.
All of that brings us to the parable of the day; the parable of the wheat and the weeds. The kingdom of heaven, says Jesus, can be compared to somebody who sowed good seeds in the field. As he slept, somebody else came along and sowed weeds among the wheat. They both grew together, weeds and wheat in the same field.
When the servants asked the farmer if he wanted the weeds pulled up, the farmer told them not to do that because there would be the risk of pulling up good plants with the bad. Wait until the harvest, he said. Then the weeds can be collected into bundles for burning and the wheat can be gathered into the barn.
The promise is that in the end, justice will be sure for those who would thwart it now. We’re glad to hear that Jesus really does have everything under control, that God is watching and that in the end, good will win. But I also think that we need to pay attention to what Jesus is saying about the possible danger that waits when we jump to conclusions along the way. You see, good wins over evil because of God, not because of anything we do.
Can I be honest with you for a minute? One of the things that has always bothered me about some Christians is the tendency for self-righteous certainty about who is “in” and who is “out” of the kingdom. It seems to me that we are much too quick sometimes – and I include myself in that group – we are much too quick sometimes to jump to conclusions about who’s going to make it to heaven and who’s not. I think I know who the weeds are, and I’m usually jot too shy about identifying them.
But Jesus says, “Leave the weeds to me. Let me handle the final decision.” If you remember the 25th chapter of Matthew, Jesus is depicted as the one in front of who will gather all the people of the earth. They will come before him and Jesus will separate them as a shepherd does sheep and goats. Those who are worthy will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven, while the others will be relegated to that place where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. That’s his job, not ours. In the parable of the wheat and the weeds, I think that Jesus is telling us that we need to exercise some caution about making judgments on our own.