He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.'
As we explore this story, we will see how the sower and his staff deal with this mess. Today, lets rest with the image of a nice, neat field of wheat sabotaged by choking weeds. Jesus cleverly uses this metaphor to account for the presence of evil in the goodness of a good God’s creation – and he is clear that the weeds are introduced by an enemy, not the Creator.
In this tale, the evil is inseparable from the good, and until it's time for the plants to bear fruit, no one can tell the weeds from the wheat. It’s all just one big mess growing up in the field we call this world. Thus we are reminded not to presume to judge others prematurely – it generally becomes apparent after awhile who is making life-giving choices and who is out for their own gain. And even then, it may not be so cut and dried. In this story the wheat does not take matters into its own hands and eliminate the weeds from its midst – a certain co-existence seems to be called for, at least in the short-term we call life in this world.
Jesus’ parables, like all good analogies, can fail us if we push them too hard toward the literal. Jesus likens the weeds to the “children of evil” and the wheat to the “children of the kingdom,” but no one is born one or the other. Theoretically, we all have the chance to be fruit-bearing wheat. iI's a question of where we put our allegiance, and from where we draw our power.
Today in prayer we might see ourselves as rooted in a field, planted by a loving Sower, nurtured by One who tends his beloved creation. We can invite the rain and sun and give thanks as we experience them.
Who else do you consider “wheat” in the part of God’s field in which you dwell.
And are there some whom you deem to be weeds? What happens when you pray for those people? Try it for a few weeks... ask for God to bless them beyond measure.
We are creatures of a loving Sower – who allowed an enemy to exercise free will, even at the cost of compromising his crop. Was this Planter careless? Or is his love so expansive, it makes room for people to find their way to good harvest?