In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirt, the Holy Three In One who has sown us, provides for us, and makes us grow, even among weeds.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Welcome to Agriculture Sundays! For the past two Sundays now we have been hearing about soil and crop, and seed and weed. We have been hearing about good soil and bad soil. We have been hearing about good plants and bad plants. We have been inundated with so much information about seeds and ground and bearing good fruit that we might start getting a little vegetative ourselves in the pews when we start to hear about “just…. another… seed… story.”
It is my joy and privilege to tell you, that at least I think, this isn’t “just… another…. seed… story.” This is a story about God’s grace, the devil’s plan, and God winning in the end. This is a story that has all of the classic ingredients of a blockbuster movie! It has the peaceful beginning, the seeming shift in the balance of power, the feel as if things might not work out in the end, and then….then the victory of the righteous.
Really. Think about the last action movie you watched. Wasn’t that the plot line? What Jesus is telling us in this parable is the plot line. It is the plot line to the biggest blockbuster story ever, His Kingdom, built on salvation and the forgiveness of sins, for us. So if you wouldn’t mind, let’s take a look at this plot line given to us by Jesus himself without yawns and mutterings about it being “just a weed story.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in His field, the dirt and mud of our Christian Baptized lives, and of our surroundings. You can almost see a picturesque farmer-God doing this. Picture a sunny day, a tall old man, handsome, with lines on his face from laughing, smiling, tears, and being in the sun. He’s wearing a broad brimmed hat to keep the sun out, and he’s walking through this tilled field tossing seed, talking to the birds and creatures of the earth and humming a little song. He enjoys this. He enjoys planting this seed and scattering it everywhere – just as our God enjoys seeing His Word go out amongst us.
Picture the sunset. Picture the sun going down and our old farmer, this old fatherly man, sitting under a tree with a glass of iced tea looking out over the field were he just sowed his crop imagining what might come of it.
The next morning comes and the next morning after that. This farmer looks across his land and sees that it is good. He sees the good that he has put in the ground and he begins to see the seedlings sprout up.
A few more weeks later, his men come to him looking worried. “There are weeds,” they say. They don’t know where the weeds came from and they begin to ask, “you did sow good seed didn’t you?” We ask this question too sometimes. We know that God says in His Word is good and does what it says – but then we begin to see the weeds. We begin to see things going wrong in our lives, in our country, even…even in our church. We start to ask God – “how did these weeds get in here?”
The answer is simple, but it isn’t heartening. “An enemy did this.”
This enemy, this evil entity isn’t passive. He doesn’t sit around and hope that he’ll find a way to demolish God’s plan for our lives; he is active and working. He has sown his own seeds, seeds that often times look like good seeds. In the time of Jesus there was a certain weed, called a “zizania” which looked exactly like wheat right up until the time that it began to grow it’s head – the true useable part of the plant.
Often we don’t catch our weeds until their true nature starts showing up. We go about our daily lives, doing this sin and that sin – following what we think is right in the eyes of society or our peers and not really caring what is right in the eyes of God. We let the weeds grow and we don’t even know that they are growing. We don’t know they are growing until finally we are struck, surprised by what is really growing in our gardens.
So what’s growing in your garden? We know that the Word of God has been planted in you, but what have you let grow beside it? Have you let a little lie grow into a large nasty stalk? Have you let a little envy grow into a green-eyed monster? Have you let a little hate grow into a silent, cold, and impersonal root in your life? If you’re honest about it, you know what I’m talking about. There is something in your life. Something in your day-to-day activity that you do or have done that you’re now seeing grow into a big ugly plant.
And all of those big ugly plants are right next to each other. Every one of us has their own big ugly plant. So our plants get mixed up with our gardens, our good and our bad. Sin is funny in this way….just like a weed, it doesn’t stay in one place. It spreads and sends runners throughout the entire garden. Soon, the whole garden is filled with stalks above ground and roots and runners below ground.
Sin spreads. It hurts our lives, but then it moves on, it’s not satisfied just with the individual it moves on and out. Sin affects us in ourselves when we do it, but then it moves – my sin contributes to the over all sin. Your sin contributes to the over all sin. It builds and builds and spreads and affects the world. It creates disorder, it creates disease, it creates the broken down and destructive nature that we have known since we first born.
We’re left wondering what to do. The men from the sower’s garden asked “Should we go and gather the weeds?” Here the old farmer says something very interesting. He doesn’t say, “YES! Get out there! Why are you standing around here gawking at all of these weeds?” He doesn’t get mad. He casts a knowing eye over the landscape. Only those knowing farmer’s eyes could see beneath the soil. Only the eyes of God can see why pulling up all of the weeds out of our lives would kill us. It seems like the easiest thing in the world to pull up the weeds – but he knows the way to get rid of the weeds in such a way that it will not harm us.
God is casting, and has been casting that knowing eye across humanity for a long time. He looks out across the people that he loves, the people who are the stalks of good grain that are going to be bearing him good fruit. He sees the weeds, but he sees more. He sees the seeds amongst the weeds. He sees something that He loves. He sees his children, standing here in this sanctuary giving him praise. He sees his children across the world, some of them in a lot of pain. Some of them being choked by weeds.
He says, “I will send my son, my only begotten unique son, Jesus.” I will give his life as seed spilled out on the ground, seed that cannot be choked out by any sort of weed. I will plant that seed in my church and in the hearts of all who believe.” He tells us that he forgives our Sin and makes the weeds powerless.
Casting those knowing eyes across the field he says, “No. Wait until harvest time, and at that point we will get rid of these weeds and burn them off.” He has His plan in progress already. The plan went into effect the very day that Jesus died on that cross – creating the seed of the good news of salvation. The plan was in effect on the day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire on the disciple’s heads. That plan is in effect when we spread the seed of His good news to others. That plan is in effect in our mission fields and in our homes. That plan is in effect when we feel the peaceful growing of faith in our lives.
On that day when Christ will come back to earth. On that day when our tombs are blown open just as Christ’s tomb was blown open. On that day when we arise with all those who have gone before us, we know that we will not be thrown into that pit of fire. We know that the seed of the Gospel has made our lives full of worth for God. We know that it has made us who we are, his Saints. We know that on that day, we will be gathered together, not for burning – but gathered together in front of the throne of God and finally our eyes will fall upon the Lamb of God again and we will rejoice. We will rejoice that we no longer have to grow amongst the weeds.