Last week we looked at the parable of the Sower while in the passage for today, (Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43) Jesus continues to use farming illustrations and speaks of seeds and weeds.
Although only good wheat seed had been sown, the crop became contaminated with weeds. In this parable, the weeds represent all that is wrong in the world; the weeds represent evil and sin.
So why, we may ask, if this is God’s world, does He allow weeds in His garden; our world?
In other words, why does God allow sin to continue?
Why does He allow bad things to happen in the world? Why doesn’t God intervene and sort things out right away?
Well, in the parable, the farmer delays because by the time the weeds are recognised, the roots of both plants are intertwined. Removing them may also damage the good wheat.
It is essential that these weeds are dealt with, of that there is no doubt. So, we should be clear, God does not condone sin. As we see in the parable, Jesus speaks of judgement. Yet, we also see that there is a right time to have a clear-out.
Something of which that the writer of Ecclesiastes also spoke (3:1,2) “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to plant and a time to uproot”.
In this parable we see a note of patience. Not just the Farmworkers who have to wait and watch, but the patience of God Himself.
God doesn’t give up on people. He gives everyone opportunity to change, so that, as Jesus says, (Mt13:43), “The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father”.
Of course, this is not suggesting that people can behave in whatever way they want without being called to account or without consequences at the time. If that were to happen it would lead to chaos. And God is certainly not a God of chaos but of order.
As a society, we have a system of justice to deal with those who break the law. But, if we wanted God to intervene every time someone did something wrong and deal with them immediately, in other words, punish without delay anyone who sins in any way, we might be on shaky ground ourselves.
After all, who amongst is perfect? There can be good and bad aspects in our life. We can be responsible for great acts of unselfish kindness and love.
On the other hand, if we are truthful, perhaps there may also have been occasions at which we look back on with regret.
We may have upset others, even hurt them by cruel words spoken. We do things we shouldn’t. We can allow ourselves to be influenced more by the world than by God’s Word. We betray Christ and condemn ourselves by our behaviour and by our thoughts towards others.
At times we can have weeds growing in our life, but God does not treat us as our actions deserve. He loves us and treats us with grace and mercy.
In this parable, there is grace, patience and hope. When we look back on our life and on own mistakes, we can be thankful that God is a forgiving God and that we had time to change.
As the Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 86 (v15), “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” and (v11), “Teach me your way O Lord, and I will walk in your truth”.
There can be weeds in our life, in our character, but through God’s patience and in His grace, He will help us deal with them, to clear them out and to clean us up, so that we can be able to “shine like the sun in the kingdom of God”.
Let us pray
Almighty and Loving God, in us You have planted only good seed, the seed of real life, life with You. You have nurtured and nourished us, encouraged us to grow in You and flourish in You. You offer us life in all its fullness.
So, forgive us when, through complacency or choice, we have allowed weeds to appear, to take hold and spoil that life.
Yet, despite our mistakes, we thank you that instead of abandoning us, You stay with us, always encouraging and giving us opportunity to change, helping us clear out all that would come between us and You.
We thank You for Your patience and compassion. Help us be ever vigilant and aware of all that would distract us from You.
In all our dealings and relationships with one another help us show the same patience, understanding and compassion. Help us be slow to condemn or judge and quick to encourage and forgive.
God who sows and God who reaps, God who waits patiently for the right time, guide us, guide your church, so that it will shine like the sun to draw all back to You and Your Kingdom.
Amen, and may God bless us all.