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.
Because of space I could not put the whole parable in today’s devotion so I suggest you read it all in Matthew 13:24-43
The sabotage of sowing tares in a farmer’s field of grain, was not unheard of in the first century, even though it was prohibited by Roman law. The actual weed Jesus spoke of was a grass called “darnell.” In its early stages it resembles wheat; but instead of bearing fruit that is good to eat, it’s poisonous. Darnell was useless, and toxic.
In Jesus’ parable about good seed and weeds growing together Jesus illustrates how seeds of evil can be planted alongside the good seeds of love and faith that God has planted in each of his children’s hearts.
While allowing weeds to grow with the crop is not usually the preferred solution for a farmer, it is apparently God’s solution to the problem of evil in the world. This does not mean that we are to let evil acts and injustices around us go without addressing them. Instead it seems to mean that there will always be evil in the world and it will be God’s solution to get rid of it in the end.
Our responsibility as Christians, as children of God, is to bear good fruit. It is not for us to wait around for God to sort everything out in regard to evil and injustice, but the point seems to be that we will never uproot all of the evil in the world. We can help see the evil that we can change are tended to but, God will ultimately sort out all evil. Then, when God does, God will gather the fruitful together. It is our calling until then to bear fruit from the seeds of faith and love that God plants in our hearts. Part of that task is to stay alert to how seeds of evil are developing alongside the seeds of God’s love and faith and to also help others see the difference between the weeds and the good seeds of faith and love.
Our lives are littered with situations where there is no clear or easy answer about what is good or evil. Sometimes it is hard to tell what is good and what is evil. But in this parable Jesus promises that in ambiguous, challenging situations we can be assured in the end, God will sort things out. As St. Paul says in Romans, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”
Sometimes we don’t make good choices. Sometimes things go wrong. Jesus doesn’t promise here that Christian faith prevents hardship. He does promise that we are not justified by our right choices but rather by God’s grace through faith. Knowing we have God’s unconditional love in spite of our poor choices frees us to live in the moment and produce as much good fruit as we can. God loves us regardless of our mistakes and poor choices at time, and promises that, in the end, God will hold all of our choices and all of our lives together in love.
- As you look back on your life what choices did you make you wish you could change?
- Have you also seen that there were times when the choice you made seemed to have worked well in getting rid of some evil that you confronted?
- Have you ever experienced making a bad choice but God seemed to use it for good?
- What do you see in the parable of good seed and weeds?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.