Summary: When it comes to sorting out the weeds and the wheat (the good and evil in the world). we are called only to be a patient witness go God's amazing grace.
For the first time since Ken and I got married, we are now (and have been for the last year) living in a house that we own. Actually, this is the first time I’ve ever lived in a house that I owned. As many of you probably know, the thing about living in a house that you own is that you tend to take better care of it, and you might even try and work to improve the home if you are able. So one of the things Ken and I have been trying to improve at our house over the last year is the lawn, which means I’ve learned a lot about lawn care in the last several months. For example, there is a specific, ordered, scheduled regimen for what you put on your lawn in order to get healthier grass. So, as many of you probably know, starting around April, you put down crab grass preventer, which may or may not also take care of someother unwanted growth in your lawn. Then, the next step, once there is a string of days where the high hits at least 70, you put down weed and feed. The final step is to put down grass seed, but you have to wait until the low won’t drop below 50 or 60, and it also can’t be too close to the time you put down the weed and feed because the weed part of the weed and feed will keep the new grass seed from sprouting and growing.
Did you get all that? So Ken and I were closely following these steps this Spring, and somewhere in the process, soon after Ken had laid out the weed and feed, we had to dig some new drainage ditches through the yard. Afterwards, we spread grass seed where we had turned the earth so new grass would grow, and as I was throwing out the grass seed, I decided I was also going to fill in the patches around the yard where the weed and feed and killed some weeds. But Ken stopped me because, he said, the weed and feed would keep the grass from growing and it would just be a waste of seed. As it turns out, the lack of rain has kept anything from growing anyway, so it seems this year at least that all our efforts were for naught. Maybe next year….
Now, I tell you that because when we think about weed and feed or round-up, and the ways that weed killer can also kill off the “good plants”, we can see why there might be times when it’s just better to let the weeds grow alongside the healthy plants. But, as we continue our “Gardening with God” series this morning, I also want to give you a picture of exactly what Jesus had in mind when he told this parable so that we can hear it and understand it as Jesus’ first listeners would have.
There’s this plant called darnel. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t. I had not heard of it before this week. Darnel looks exactly like wheat, but it is what we would consider a weed because its grains (which are actually green) often carry a poisonous fungus. Now, aside from the poisonous fungus bit, the other problem with darnel is the fact that it grows right alongside wheat, and it can even get its roots tangled up and entwined with the wheat. Darnel is the weed Jesus has in mind when he tells this parable of the weeds. So the servants are out in the fields checking on the status of the wheat as it grows. And they must’ve noticed that some of the grains were green, so they knew what they were seeing, and they go to the Master with the question, “Didn’t you plant good seed…?” Knowing that this could ruin the crop, the servants then offer to go and pull the weeds, but the Master tells them no, explaining, “if you gather the weeds, you’ll pull up the wheat along with them. Let both grow side by side until the harvest. And at harvest time I’ll say to the harvesters, ‘First gather the weeds and tie them together in bundles to be burned. But bring the wheat into my barn.’”
So, a little later on, Jesus explains this parable of the weeds to the disciples. And as you can probably discern, basically what it comes down to is that Christ is the Master who plants good seeds. The bad seeds are planted by the devil, and when the seeds sprout and grow together, the wheat represents the righteous, and the weeds the unrighteous. At the final judgment, the righteous and unrighteous will be separated and dealt with accordingly.