Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pulling Weeds

My hubby and I were pulling some weeds from a small flower garden in our front yard when I noticed that the weeds growing among the daylilies looked an awful lot like the daylilies themselves. So much so, in fact, that it was hard to tell the difference between the weeds and the plants. I told Alton that it takes a clever weed to grow and disguise itself among the leaves of good plants that look just like it. Then we talked about how the weeds in our garden were a lot like the sin in our lives…how the things that pull us away from God often look really good at the outset, only later to be revealed as destructive choices and behaviors that choke out the fruit we’re meant to bear.

Alton and I are not the first people to make this comparison between cleverly disguised weeds and sin. In fact, Jesus made a similar observation a couple thousand years ago…we know it as the “Parable of the Weeds” and it’s found in Matthew’s Gospel. In the story, Jesus describes a farmer who planted wheat and the farmer’s enemy who came along while the farmer was sleeping to plant weeds among the wheat, weeds that probably looked a lot like the wheat. The farmer advises his workers, when they discover the problem, to leave the weeds alone, because if they try to pull them, they may accidentally pull some of the good wheat along with the weeds.

This parable is loaded with meaning, and literally volumes have been written about it. One of the things I’ve learned from it, and the point I’m getting at today, is that Satan, like the enemy of the farmer, is crafty and clever. He will plant seeds of sin around us that, at first, may look like things that are good and appealing. How do we tell the difference? I think the fruit we bear is one way to tell. Seeds that God has planted in our lives will bring forth fruit that bountifully points back to and glorifies Him. Seeds planted by the enemy will not produce beautiful blessings. Most importantly, we need to remember to ask God to point out weeds in our lives and to rely on His strength to remove them.

The Parable of the Weeds

Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV)

24Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

28" 'An enemy did this,' he replied.

"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

Matthew 13:36-40 (NIV)

Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."

He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear

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