Starting in the 13th chapter of Matthew several parables of Jesus are recorded. The parable was and is an effective teaching tool utilizing story to convey a deeper message, often in a way that is much more relatable than focusing on the point itself. In places where the majority of people are not literate this is in fact a much better tool. Again Jesus demonstrates His effectiveness as the master teacher. For those long in the church many of these parables are well known and remembered, but there are still gems to be mined by hearing them again. Many of these have an agricultural theme owing to the amount of farming taking place in the vicinity where He was teaching. In so doing these become immediately relatable to His audience.
While there are many, for today we will look at the one about the Wheat and the tares. In short a land owner has planted a field of wheat. While his workers were asleep an enemy snuck in and sowed tares. It wasn’t until the crop had headed out that it became evident what had happened. In wisdom the owner said that the separating of the two would have to wait until the harvest less the wheat be destroyed in trying to remove the tares. Jesus would later explain that the wheat was planted by the Son of Man and the Tares by the enemy. At the Harvest, those planted by the Son of Man would be gathered and presented to the Father where the Tares would be gathered and cast into the fire. A stark warning for those outside the care of the Son. So what was Jesus trying to teach?
First its a reminder that although the world started good at creation it soon became polluted with evil because of Sin. Now this is a fact and there is no way to undo it without causing harm to all (think Noah and the flood). Second that even though there is much evil in the world, good can still grow and flourish. One’s faith can increase and they can do much good regardless of their circumstances. Third, just as it was impossible to distinguish the wheat from the tare while they were growing it is equally impossible for us on the Earth to tell the difference. This is something left to God to know and separate in His time. Fourth, in the end there will be a great reckoning and justice will prevail. Fifth it is not our job (those that are in the church, part of the family of God, the “wheat” if you will) to try and root out the tares. In so doing many a good minded person have done a lot of harm in attempting to root out tares. This is the purview of God and God alone.
So what do we do with this? Simply put, we grow where we have been planted. We focus on growing and developing our faith in spite of the circumstances we find ourselves in. This will not always be easy but is always necessary. This is done by focusing on the nourishment provided by the Father. Enjoy the warmth of His love and spurn the coldness of the world. Drink of the richness of His Word rather than the emptiness of the enemy. Spend time with Him in prayer and contemplation over time spent away from Him. In so doing we shall grow together bigger and fuller and others shall see this and miss the tares. They are but a distraction and an annoyance to be separated at the Harvest. In short grow where you are planted and know that God will provide all you need to do so.