‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field…’ (Matthew 13:24)
Following on from the parable of the sower we have the parable of the weeds, possibly one of the most valuable and practical lessons that Jesus ever told. It is believed that the weeds or tares spoken of in this parable are bearded darnel which in their early stages of growth look so much like wheat that it is impossible to tell them apart and by the time it became clear that this is what they were, they had become so entwined with the wheat that it would be impossible to weed them out without destroying so much wheat also. Hence the farmer had to wait until harvest time and then sort through them. But what does this parable teach us.
Before we began this series of reflections on the parables we thought of the passage in Ephesians about the armour of God and about the need for such armour in the face of spiritual warfare that faces us all as Christians. This parable reminds us that there are hostile forces in the world today that do seek to act against all that is good and we must be on our guard against them. However, it also teaches us that we need to be wary too.
This parable teaches us clearly that it can be very difficult at times to tell the difference between those who are in God’s Kingdom and those who are not. That we might be amongst those whom we believe to be Christians but who are not – and vice versa. Therefore, as well as being wary, we should never be too quick to judge as it is possible to make a grave mistake. No-one who is only aware of part of a person’s life can judge them on all of their life.
Ultimately, it is only God who can judge – and He will, whether that be in our human lifetime or in our eternal lifetime. Only God can truly discern between good and bad. So in the end we need to be wary and on our guard as we live out our lives of faith but hand over any concerns or fears to the Lord – place them into His hands and let Him be the judge.