Text: Matthew 13:24-30
For patience with others
For courage to grow and change
For those who work fields
This section of Matthew is filled with some of Jesus’ most famous parables, and the chapter emphasizes the point by declaring that Jesus did not teach publicly, except by parables, so that his hearers would not by their own wisdom gain the kingdom (Matt 13:10-13).
The parable of the wheat and tares is a good example of what Jesus is doing. Interpreting it by our own wisdom, we can only conclude that it is misguided. No farmer lets weeds grow unchecked in his fields. No harvester expends the effort to gather useless weeds first and bundle them together. When we expand the parable and use it to talk about evil in the world, we see the (quite natural) urge to expunge evil in our midst, to cast out those weeds that grow among us.
No, the parable only holds together when Jesus, the Son of God, is at its center. Only the Lord, who sees all hearts, perceives all ends, and who by his death and Resurrection has taken the mystery of evil into himself, can exercise just rule and judgement. Our judgments are always provisional, tentative, resting in the grace of the One who is our hope.
As we continue to struggle together as a nation, let us remember the words of the Russian philosopher Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who wrote
Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an un-uprooted small corner of evil.
Whomever you meet today, remember that he or she is struggling with the line—just as you are—and hold your hand from harvesting.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks