Monday, May 6, 2013

Wheat and Weeds

Matthew 13:24-30  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. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?' He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he replied, 'No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.  Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"

I get deeply frustrated when I see people in the Church of God behaving in ways that are self-serving, power-hungry, and evil. I will admit to wishing that God would take them away, so that we can get on with being a church of love and service. Today’s passage from Matthew is God’s answer to me. And it is an answer that is all about Grace.

As I read this parable I discover this: God will not uproot those who I think are ‘weeds’ getting in the way of the fruitfulness of God’s work. This for two reasons:

·         First of all – God is not yet finished with them! Those who show the signs of evil at work in their lives are subject to the nutrition of the Holy Spirit, and there is every chance that God can transform their lives for the better. This is the core business of the Kingdom of God – to turn people from ‘weeds’ to ‘wheat’.

·         Secondly – I must be careful of the way I use my very limited knowledge to judge some to be ‘wheat’, and others to be ‘weeds’. I do not have all the facts. I am using my own filters of culture, class, and social conditioning to determine the worth of another person! The lesson of the parable is that only God can do this. And every time I judge another person, I am setting myself up to replace God.

I am about to begin a week in Convocation with 200 deacons in the Order of Deacons of the British Methodist Church. This therefore becomes an especially important lesson for me – and indeed for all of us as we live alongside of each other. Inevitable, there will be some who I do not like. Equally, they might not like me! This is the moment when we are invited to rise above the desire to judge each other to be ‘wheat’ and ‘weeds’, and instead to embrace each other as part of the infinite variety that is the Kingdom of Heaven.


Pray for the following Deacons: Sue Culver (Warden) to ‘order her mind’ as she prepares to lead the Convocation. Also: Glenda Sidding (Wimborne & Christchurch), Gilli Skinner (Stratford and Urmston), Marilyn Slowe (North Lambeth).


Song for the day:
What shall our greeting be:
Sign of our unity?
May we no more defend
Barriers he died to end:
Give me your hand, my friend:
One Church, One Lord!

What is our mission here?
He makes his purpose clear:
One world, one Lord!
Spirit of truth descend,
All our confusions end:
Give me your hand, my friend:

He comes to save us now:
To serve him is to know
Life's true reward.
May he our lives amend,
All our betrayals end:
Give me your hand, my friend:

Fred Pratt Green
Words © 1975 Hope Publishing Company


Readings taken from the lectionary in the Prayer Book of the Methodist Diaconal Order

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