June 12, 2017

Weeds in the Garden

Matthew 13:24-30

While you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.

—  Matthew 13:29-30

Weeding is one of my least favorite activities. But I know that weeds can overtake and ruin a garden, and I want to protect my garden and help it thrive. So, early in the season, I cultivate around young plants and pick and pull weeds. And even though I try to be careful, I sometimes pull up plants along with the weeds. At these times, I keenly sense the wisdom of the gardener in Jesus’ parable.

There are some critical differences, though, between weeds in my garden and the weeds in Jesus’ parable. Those weeds were deliberately and liberally sown by the farmer’s enemy. And those weeds would have looked much like young wheat plants at first. In addition, the roots of the wheat and weed plants were already intertwined before the act of sabotage was detected. So weeding would have destroyed the good with the bad. Not weeding made good sense in that scenario.

Most significantly, the parable reveals God’s wisdom and mercy for us today too. Our enemy, the devil, has been and is actively sowing weeds among the good seeds in God’s garden. We may wonder why God does not weed out wicked people and evil from his world, but we can be thankful that he is most intent on preserving his people until the harvest.

Father, we praise you for your wisdom, mercy, and patience. Protect us from evil and preserve us, together with all your people, until the day of harvest. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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