ARE THERE WEEDS IN YOUR GARDEN?
Anyone who has ever gardened or landscaped knows the battle with weeds.
You don’t plant them. You don’t encourage them. You don’t want them.
But there they are. But, literally, they go with the territory
And you have to deal with them.
Weed and Feed product feeds the good and kills the bad.
I’m not sure how it knows which is which.
Dr. Jay’s definition of a WEED: Something growing where it should not be.
Back in February when I was planning my sermons for this year, I decided to take some time this Summer to preach on several of Jesus’ parables.
Last week we looked at the Parable of the Waiting Father
Two weeks ago our attention was on the Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price.
Today we return to Matthew 13 to a story called The Parable of the Weeds.
Question is not, What do you IF I get weeds?
Rather, the question is, What will I do about the weeds?
Things to keep in mind:
JESUS IS AT WORK DOING GOOD
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. Matthew 13:24 NIV
I like that the disciples ask Jesus in private to explain the parable.
In public they acted like the understood. But behind closed doors they could ask Jesus what he meant.
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.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man Matthew 13:36-37 NIV
Here is something we take by faith: Jesus is at work doing good.
There are forces in this world: personal forces, political forces, economic forces.
Frankly it does not take a lot of faith to believe they exist because we can see them.
But as Christians, we hold close that Jesus is at work through us.
The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. Matthew 13:38a NIV
In the parable the good seed the man sowed was for wheat.
Ultimately became food, bread, a staple, an essential need.
Maybe I should note that this man is growing wheat not flowers.
Its purpose is not beauty alone, but the production of a food commodity that is complete at harvest.
If you have a weed deterring the beauty of your flower garden and landscaping, by all means pull it up.
Jesus is reminding us that there is a present aspect of God’s agenda, but there is a future aspect that we believe is there and we take by faith.
Our perspective must not just be upon what is happening now, but what will happen in the future.
THERE IS AN ADVISARY AT WORK
But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. Matthew 13:25 NIV
Now THAT’S just MEAN. It’s a nasty little case of agricultural terrorism.
The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. Matthew 13: 38b-39 NIV
This means that people doing God’s work live in the midst of a world influenced by Satan.
As parents and grandparents, we are rightfully concerned about what our children are exposed to. At best we try to delay the inevitable until they are better mature to handle it.
The Kingdom of God is not a monastery where we get away from all the darkness and problems of the world.
Until the Lord returns, we are left in a world where wheat and weeds grow together.
INTENDING TO DO GOOD, WE CAN DO HARM
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ Matthew 13:28 NIV
“Master, we’ve got a problem. Weeds among the wheat. Do you want us to go out and pull up the weeds?”
This seems like a logical response. (Nip It. Nip It. Nip It.)
· In Jesus’ day there were Hebrews called Zealots who wanted to eradicate every foreign influence from the land. (These was a disciple called Simon the Zealot)
But the servants receive a very different command.
Often, Jesus parables have some element of surprise, the unexpected:
The caring man was a Samaritan.
The person sold all he had to acquire a magnificent pearl
The father welcomed the rebellious son hone with open arms.
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Matthew 13:29 NIV
The overarching concern for the farmer is the health of the wheat, not the destruction of the weeds.
There may come a time when a wrong needs to be addressed, but not before considering if the way we approach it will do more harm than good.
Does burning copies of the Koran help Jesus reach Muslim? (Jackie Leggett)
The times of Christian History when even well intended Christians took up arms
· I love church so much I have been a part of just about every kind of ministry. But I have also made about every mistake that can be made. Story of chasing down a boy on a bicycle on Elmira NY mission trip. I wonder what that young man thinks of evangelical Christians. We wanted to teach a smart aleck kid a lesson. To remember it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I wonder, in my zeal to help the Lord’s cause if I actually hurt it.
TIME IS A REVEALING FORCE
The master’s prescription is patience:
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.’” Matthew 13:30 NIV
· The weed is zizania in Greek, (darnel) also known as darnel, or in the King James, tares, related to ryegrass. This noxious plant looks like wheat as it grows, but produces no useful crop.
History is full of items that have looked good at the front end but turned out a disaster.
Selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. The Edsel, Astrotruf, Jay Leno at 10:00, or Kanya West interrupting Taylor Swift at Video Music Awards. Lane Kiffin as UT Football coach.
On the other hand, some things that haven’t looked so good on the front end can bring great benefits.
Time has a way of showing something’s true colors.
· Accidentally pulling Mrs. Reece’s flowers and leaving the weeds. In time they would have bloomed and I would have recognized the difference.
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV
It’s a rush-to-judgment world we live in. Short term thinking needs to yield to an eternal perspective.
THE BEST WAY TO DEAL WITH WEEDS IS TO GROW GOOD PLANTS
The harvesters, those who in the end separate the weeds from the wheat, are not people, but angels
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Matthew 13:39 NIV
Note what Jesus says in His explanation. WE are not the harvesters or the servants.
WE are the wheat, the children of the kingdom. v. 38
Leave the weeds to me, says Jesus. You just worry about growing up as wheat.
The best news is that growth and maturity are probably the most effective forms of weed control. If you are responsible for taking care of a lawn, you know that healthy grass is extremely competitive and will crowd out most weeds all by itself. If your lawn is healthy, you shouldn’t have to dig out many weeds at all
· Leathe Anderson in Minnesota: Concentrate on growing good grass and the weeds will take care of themselves.
As such we are not only wheat, we are also salt and light influencing the world around us.
I talked with a school teacher this week and I said, I am so glad you are in our classroom reflecting the love of Jesus on those children and their families.
I spoke to a person who works in local government and I said, I am so glad you are where you are representing Christ in the mission field of your workplace.
· Tony Campolo told a story of ridding an airplane when a man in the seat across the aisle from him light up a cigarette. The flight attendant came by told him no smoking was allowed. And this arrogant fellow who apparently thought rules applied to everyone but him just blew smoke in her face. She repeated her insistence that he put out the cigarette and he did it again. Just then, the plane hit turbulence and the tray of beverages the flight attendant was holding went sailing and landed all over the guy, drenching him and exhausting his cigarette. And the beautiful flight attendant fell right into Tony Campolo’s lap. To which he commented: And they say there is no God!
I question whether or not that story is true, but I want it to be!
I would like wrongs to be mended so quickly and justice to be so swift.
We like those stories, were the wrong fail and the right prevail.
Rambo comes in with machine guns blazing and the wicked guys fall.
James Bond suavely takes out the sinister evildoer intent on world domination.
The wimpy kid defeats the bully and wins the beautiful girl.
We want to BE that person.
Not the way Jesus operates.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village. Luke 9:54-56 NIV
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Matthew 26:53 NIV
Yes, we are stuck with weeds until the harvest. But the harvest will come.
The point is NOT that Jesus is going to go easy on the weeds.
No, he fully intends to put evildoers into the furnace of fire.
The kingdom promises ultimate justice, not earthly fulfillment.
With liberty and justice for all.
But justice does not always seem to be so automatically served.
Yet that is the ideal. It is in our pledge.
There is a kingdom coming where wrong shall fail and right prevail.
Work to be good and strong.
Trust that the Lord is capable of managing and judging and resolving.
Work for good and believe that God is working for good too.
Think before you act. Could I do more harm than good.
Maybe you are struggling. A weed is in your garden. Getting the best of you.
We are in an awkward state. We know that you want us to stand up for what is right and the things that are a part of your kingdom. You’ve called us to be agents of the Kingdom of God. Yet, you’ve not called us to try and purify the world eliminating all evil. This is an incredible tension and we need wisdom. Give us the deep humility that comes from following Jesus. Help us to see clearly the boundaries and the motives that we allow to drive us. Help us to be like Jesus so that we can point people to him and bring him glory and honor and praise. Might the tithes and the offerings that we now bring all play well into that process. Amen.