Summary: In Church we will often find both wheat and Darnel growing side by side in the pews.Should we try to root the Darnel out and purify the church so we only have wheat (as we of course perceive it)
I came across this interesting story. I cannot vouch for its authenticity however but it makes a good point.
Story: A man was stopped at a traffic light and when the light turned green he was distracted and didn’t budge.
The lady in the car behind him started honking her horn again and again pounding on the steering wheel.
Just as the light turned yellow, the man wakened from his daydreaming and drove off.
The woman was beside herself when she heard a tap on her window.
Looking up, she saw a police officer who asked her to step out of the car because she was under arrest.
He read her rights and took her to the police station to be processed.
Finally, the officer unlocked the holding cell and took her back to the booking desk.
He said, “Sorry for the mistake, When I pulled up behind you I heard you blowing your horn and cursing loudly at the fellow in front of you. I noticed the bumper stickers on the car.
One of the read, ‘Follow me to Sunday School.’ The other said ‘What Would Jesus Do?’
So, I naturally assumed you had stolen the car.” (Sermon Central, “Separating the Wheat From the Weeds by Craig Condon, 4/8/15)
Today’s parable of the wheat and weeds begins WHERE the previous parable left off - with the crop growing in the good soil.
Actually, the parable has lost a bit in translation, because the word we used as ” weed” is actually a much stronger word. It means “darnel”
What is darnel you might ask?
David Wenham, one of my lecturers when I was at theological college described the darnel like this:
"this resembles wheat-like grass and is a weed in whose grains lives a poisonous fungus and grows exclusively in grain fields in the Middle East (per The Parables of Jesus – David Wenham p.57)
Another commentator RT France says this about darnel. It is
" a poisonous plant related to wheat and which is virtually indistinguishable from it until the ears form.
To sow darnel among wheat as an act of revenge was punishable in Roman Law – so it probably depicts a real life situation." (Matthew- R.T. France p. 225)
In Church we come across both wheat and darnel, and we need to distinguish between the two.
We may find darnel in our church and the way we can distinguish them is to ask, are they leading me closer to Jesus or not
In the parable, the servants wanted to pull up the weeds, but by doing so you would ruin the crop of wheat
And the same is true in church
Often people who are darnel have a following and if you try to remove them people take sides and you can land up destroying the church.
Story: In one of my churches long before I came to the Church, the Reader in the Church wanted to challenge the Vicar as to who was running the church.
Eventually the Reader left and took half the congregation with him.
And sadly this church even 20 years on has not recovered.
Weeding out the darnel can destroy the church.
In contrast, we had a similar situation in one of my previous churches (I have served in 43 churches since ordination so you will find it hard to work out which church I am talking about).
But instead of trying to weed the darnel out, we got the person to work with us, and I invited her to lead the prayers in church.
And with time she gave me her full support.
You see I think we all have a bit of darnel in us and a bit of wheat.
And the challenge is to get rid of the darnel traits and develop the wheat traits.
How do we do this.
One by spending time in prayer and studying your Bible
Secondly, by asking the Lord to guide your path.
It is amazing where God will lead you if you allow him to.
But I’d like to just plant a seed with you this morning
In life, we will come across both wheat and darnel – those who follow Christ and those who are from the evil one
And I want to ask the question - what grabs our attention more
We know that our newspapers are much more interested in reporting on evil than reporting on good
But what grabs our attention more
The wheat or the darnel
Do we give thanks for the good things in life – the wheat – or do we complain about the bad things in life – the darnel?
Does the devil use the darnel around us to take our eyes off being thankful to God for his goodness to us