Summary: Jesus leaves "weeds" in place to grow. Why don’t we? Because God loves better than we do!
Some of Jesus’ parable is lost to us city dwellers. He was speaking to members of a much more agrarian society. They probably understood this in much more vivid terms than do we)but I think that we can learn some valuable lessons from this parable. I know that none of us here are farmers.
However, a few of us grew up on a farm. Despite our lack of agricultural experience, I’ll bet that most of us have tried to grow something in our lives. Whether they were beans, beets or begonias, we all know that whatever seed you sow, you should expect to get that type of plant. When you sow carrots, you expect to get carrots. When you sow carnations, you expect to get carnations.
We are not supposed to get what we did not plant and when we do, we get angry. Weeds are an annoyance to anyone who has tried to grow something before. We try anything to get rid of them. We pull them. We spray them. We dig them out. We go to the store and find something, anything to get rid of the weeds!
When I was growing up, I lived in a house that had a brick patio in the backyard. The people that owned the house previously had put the bricks in place. They had not done a very good job. They had not made it level. This was bad enough but the part that really infuriated my father was the fact that they had not put anything under the ricks to prevent the weeds from growing between them. After a few years of pulling the weeds out every few weeks or so, my father had enough. It took him about a week to pull up every brick, clean it, level the dirt, put down plastic and put every. . . brick. . . back. All that to make sure that no weeds would ever grow back again.
By nature we always want to get rid of the weeds. But not Jesus. But not Jesus? What do you mean, "But not Jesus?" I mean, NOT Jesus. That is what He said. Let me read that again. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, "Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?" And he said
to them, "An enemy has done this!" The slaves said to him, "Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?" He said, "No!"
Strange don’t you think? Sounds awfully strange. Strange indeed. Why not get rid of the weeds? They are just using up the valuable nutrients in the soil. They
are using up soil space. They are preventing other plants from getting enough light. Why not get rid of the weeds?
In trying to get rid of the weeds, have you ever considered what you are doing to the plants that you do want? I know we ask the guy in the gardening department whether the weed killer will hurt our pretty petunias but what does it really do to them?
Nothing apparent. And even if it did, it is only one growing season, right? If I kill the flowers, no big deal, I’ll just make sure that I don’t do it again next year.
What if there was a problem with the big oak tree in your front yard that shades your house in the summer and the kids like to play in? If it were that big oak at stake would you be a little bit more careful? Would you get a professional to come and look at the problem? Would you take some extra precautions?
When we moved on to Whiteman Air Force Base this past spring, the house we moved into was "posessed". It had a lot of things wrong with it. One of the worst was the infestation of termites. We had so many that the maintenance folks sent out the entomologists to get rid of our termites. They dug a trench around our house and poured some wicked chemical in the trench and covered it up. Pretty soon the termites were nowhere to be seen. However, a week later all of the plants that my wife had put in were dying. And then a couple weeks later the big oak tree in our front yard started to die. We called the entomologists back (they also are horticulturists) and asked whether the chemicals affect plants. They said no. By the end of the summer, the tree was dead and they cut it down. Would you take some extra precautions if a tree was on the line? Of course you would.
That changes the picture a bit doesn’t it? We want to get rid of the weeds but we want to make sure that the plants we do want are protected as well.