Summary: Parables for Stewards, Pt. 1
THE HARVEST AT THE END OF THE AGE (MATTHEW 13:24-43)
One summer (2007), Pastor Michael, a Chinese missionary with our denomination, was on furlough from his work in Peru. He and his wife decided to visit Los Angeles area pastors to share about their work with coworkers and friends they often see at annual conferences.
A month after the missionaries were gone, I received an e-mail from the same e-mail saying the missionary is “on a two weeks trip to three african countries” and require a “sum of $2000 so that i can pay up my hotel bill,” listing his hotel name, address and customer service number. Immediately I alerted all the area pastors of a possible scam. The scammer even had the audacity to respond to me, nonchalantly stating, “i am hereby confirming the authenticity of this email because i sent it in good faith.” Next, I challenged the sender “if you are the real one, type your Chinese name for us,” which he failed to respond. On second notice, I noticed he spelled “Michael” wrongly, using “Micheal” instead.
A local pastor informed us that the real missionary is on a plane on the way to New York, and definitely not in Nigeria. This “Michael C” even google-talked a good friend to consider helping him in paying off his hotel expenses – transcript below:
Me: Good morning, Pastor C!
Michael: It’s evening here, did’nt you get my email
Me: Evening? Are you in Europe somewhere?
Michael: i am in africa, i sent you an email requesting for help from yo
Me: REally? I haven’t got the email yet. I just got in office this morning and turned on my laptop.
(6 minutes lapse)
Michael: so what do you say to my request? are you there?
Me: I am focused in reading your email right now. Can’t respond yet. Thanks!
(8 minutes lapse)
Michael: okay leave me an offline as i am leaving here right will come back in the morning tio check my email,
The Chinese have a saying, “Do not have a heart to harm others; however, be not wanting of a heart cautious of others.” In God’s church today are scammers, swindlers, schemers, scoundrels and saboteurs of all kinds. In God’s kingdom, however, impostors, hypocrites and trespassers will not inherit or enter God’s kingdom. The phrase “kingdom of heaven” is exclusive to Matthew. Matthew 13:24 is the first of four occurrences of this phrase Matthew uses in his parables (Matt 18:23, 22:2, 25:1) to devastating effect to encourage discouraged believers, to persuade undecided seekers and to warn convincing wannabes.
Why is God’s kingdom the foolproof to charlatans? How does Kingdom firewall work? What are believers to do in the meantime?
Be Toughminded: Opposition will Emerge But It Will Fail
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. (Matt 13:24-26)
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. (Matt 13:37-38)
One Sunday morning, everyone in one bright, beautiful, tiny town got up early and went to the local church. Before the services started, the townspeople were sitting in their pews and talking about their lives, their families, etc. Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from the evil incarnate.
Soon everyone was evacuated from the church, except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew, not moving... seemingly oblivious to the fact that God’s ultimate enemy was in his presence. Now this confused Satan a bit, so he walked up to the man and said, “Don’t you know who I am?”
The man replied, “Yep, sure do.”
Satan asked, “Aren’t you afraid of me?”
“Nope, sure ain’t,” said the man.
Satan was a little perturbed at this and queried, “Why aren’t you afraid of me?”
The man calmly replied, “Been married to your sister for over 48 years.”
It’s hard to separate good wheat from bad tares in the fields before harvest. The word good is “kalos” in Greek. It means good literally or morally. In agricultural terms today, the good seed is FDA-approved and the gold standard for wheat; it gives good return for its investment and great joy to the farmer. It is honest-to-goodness, down-to-earth, true to its roots seed. The good seeds were unaffected; it did not a problem and did not become a problem even when the invasive tares came uninvited, unannounced, unchecked, and unguarded.