Summary: the parable of the weeds teaches us: don’t worry, God will sort it out. Evil can grow for awhile, but it will not prevail. Stand strong, be faithful, and we will see the Kingdom of God.
When to Weed: Your Kingdom Come
Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43
This morning we are going to look at another parable of the Kingdom of God, found in Matt. 13. And since it is an agricultural parable, I thought you might enjoy the following fictitious conversation between God and St. Francis, who was very well know for his love of nature.
GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature, what in the world is going on down there in the U.S.? What in the world happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and the stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of color by now. All I see are patches of green.
ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. They are called the Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it is so boring, it’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, bees or birds, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing it and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and the warm weather probably makes the grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites very happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it has grown a little, they cut it......sometimes two times a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now let me get this straight...they fertilize it to make it grow and when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this Lord, but when the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense! I think I like my original plan a lot better… (http://www.naturalhomeandgarden.org/lawnhumor.htm)
Since Jesus told us to “seek first the kingdom of God,” we’ve decided it would be a good idea for us to investigate what this kingdom is that we are seeking. The main way Jesus taught us about it was by telling stories, and today we are going to look at the parable of the weeds in Matt. 13:24-30. (read)
Those of you who are gardeners might be wondering at the wisdom of just letting the weeds grow, and sorting it out at the end of season, and might be wondering if Jesus should maybe stick to carpentry illustrations… Well set your minds at ease – the “weeds” Jesus talks about are called “darnel,” or for you botanists, “Lolium temulentum.” They were common weeds, and particularly nasty because until the heads formed, it was virtually impossible to tell them and the wheat apart. It was a familiar method of attacking an enemy, in an attempt to undermine his ability to fight. Their roots grew deeper than those of the wheat, so to pull them up after you could distinguish them meant that you would also, as Jesus warned, destroy some of the wheat in the process.
So What Does This Tell Us About The Kingdom Of God?
1. God will sort it out:
I believe Jesus is really trying to tell us two things about the Kingdom of God in this parable. First, the main point is that in the end, God will sort it all out and will burn the weeds and harvest the grain.
Anytime you get very far into a conversation about faith with people who don’t believe the same thing as you, and you present the truth that Jesus died to save us from sin and to secure for us an eternity in heaven, you invariably get a response something like this: “so you believe that everyone who doesn’t believe the same thing you do goes to hell.” Sometimes it’s an angry response, sometimes it is phrased as “what about people who never hear, or babies, or my grandma who was a great person, etc…”, but the basic question is the same.