Read Matthew 13:24-30
When we look at our Gospel passage this morning we perhaps think that the lesson for us all here is to do with patience and waiting patiently for the right time when certain things will happen. And that may indeed be a good lesson for us all to remember.
As Disciples of Jesus we can easily become impatient when we see little evidence of God’s Kingdom flourishing as it should, especially if we believe that certain things could happen a bit quicker. Times when we believe that we or others are guilty of not acting as quickly or as decisively as we should in our witness of the Gospel message.
However, what we have to remember is that the Kingdom does belong to God and ultimately things will happen in God’s own time. Yes we have part to play in sowing the seed and helping to yield a harvest when we can. But ultimately it is by God’s Spirit that God’s Kingdom will flourish.
But important as all that is there is perhaps another valuable lesson that we can take from these verses. Because if we look at this passage again from another perspective, what it speaks to us about is a loss of hope. And it does so in a comforting way.
Back then those who looked after the land knew that in their early stages it was difficult to distinguish been good plants and weeds. Just as they knew of the danger of attempting to removes those weeds, because they were intertwined with the good plants.
And Jesus would go on to explain that this parable was about the evil one planting wicked people in the world. People who would stand alongside those who follow Jesus and to all extent and purposes would be indistinguishable from those deemed righteous through faith in Jesus. Only at the end of the age would God then distinguish between the two.
Back then those who listened to Jesus speaking were tired of evil people among them, able it seemed to do whatever they wanted without fear of consequence or punishment. Whether that be the Roman occupation forces themselves or the corrupt authorities, leaders, tax collectors and others who colluded and co-operated with them for their own gain. Either way, for many it was a desperate situation.
And maybe today we believe that we can see signs of that in our modern day society. Powerful, influential people who seem to be able to say or do whatever they want to the detriment of others – and get away with it. Groups, companies and individuals whose behaviour is in direct opposition to the Gospel message and the will of God – and more than that causes pain and heartache for others.
And perhaps even in our everyday life, in our everyday business, we see and hear of people who seem to behave in an unacceptable way, leaving others in their wake of turmoil and chaos and we are left bewildered. Maybe we ourselves have at times been guilty of behaving in a way which is contrary to all that we believe God’s Kingdom is all about.
Faced with such circumstances it is easy to despair and lose hope in all we see around us. But here Jesus challenges this loss of hope…
Don’t lose hope in people around us, Jesus is saying. There may well be times when we are standing among weeds who appear to us to be good Disciples of Jesus. However, by the same token we may find ourselves among wheat whose behaviour would seem to suggest the complete opposite.
Either way, however, it is not up to us to attempt to separate the two. All we are called to do is live as the Disciples of Jesus that we are – not allowing the weeds to choke us – and to bear witness to God’s Kingdom in the midst of all that is happening around us – good or bad.
But Jesus is also perhaps challenging us on a more personal level, concerning those seeds growing in our own hearts. Often the one we judge most severely is ourselves, especially in our lives of faith. But Jesus is telling us not to be too severe or too harsh on ourselves. Sometimes those seeds that we are fearful or shameful of turn out to be seeds of life – for us and others we witness too.
And finally Jesus is challenging us not to lose faith in God – to never lose faith in God. No matter what we see all around us, no matter what is happening in our own lives, God’s intention has always been and will always be for goodness and love to overcome.
And maybe we are now going back to the idea of waiting patiently.
Because the thing is, God’s timetable doesn’t work in the same way ours does. God’s timetable is driven purely by grace, by forgiveness and by compassion. And one day His Kingdom will be established once and for all and we will all be judged. Then, and only then, will God separate the wheat from the weeds.
Until then we are called to live in a manner befitting our calling as a Disciple of Jesus and to put our faith, trust and hope completely in Him – knowing that His reign as Sovereign over all creation is at work, even if it doesn’t appear to be.
There are many things in life we will never understand and there will be many times when we will see and hear things that cause us to doubt, question and even lose faith. Times when it might seem as if everyone and everything in our society stands in opposition to God’s Kingdom.
And so for many reasons this parable is a tough lesson for us all. Because no matter what we see or hear we are called not to be judgemental in any way – of others, of ourselves and of God.
Instead we are called to be the Disciples that Jesus would have us be and to put our faith and hope completely in God, patiently believing that one day His Kingdom will be established once and for all – to the glory and honour of His name…Amen
Almighty and everlasting God, as we come before you once again we ask that you would enable us to seek your Holy being through the love of Jesus Christ, that in so doing, we might come closer to you with every passing day. And as we think of Your church here on earth, we pray that it would continue to speak out against all injustice and unrighteousness and stand up for those most in need.
We pray for those who are persecuted in Your name, those who are suffering because of their faith and those whose faith leaves them isolated and alone. We ask loving God that Your hand would be upon them. Uphold and support them we pray, that they may continue to hold on to their faith in their adversity. Indeed we pray for all who are persecuted in any way, those who are forced to leave homes and loved ones and we would ask that you might be with them also.
Be with all those in our own parish and communities, especially those who are sick or bereaved, and those whose needs are greater than ours. Grant them the assurance of your presence in their lives and let them know that you will never abandon them…And all these things we ask in Jesus name…Amen.