24 He set another parable before them, saying, ““The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds also among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel weeds appeared also. 27 The servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where did this darnel come from?’
28 “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them up?’
29 “But he said, ‘No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel weeds, you root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’””(WEB)
Weeding God’s Garden
One thing that strikes me about now is how it seems that everyone wants to get rid of the weeds. We seem to have an idea that the garden we live in would be much better if God would break down and weed it. Some would weed themselves — but, there is great speculation.
I remember not too long ago, people were talking about the 1% with the highest income. There was a suggestion that our social problems were caused by the greed of a few wealthy people — if we could weed the garden if this group, and the poison of their greed the world would be better. More recently, I heard a suggestion that our problems are caused by the 47% poorest who are too lazy to contribute or take personal responsibility. I’ve heard voting democrat equated with treason, and I just saw a bumper sticker that said “Republicans kill kittens.”
Its not just politics — so many of us have a person, or a class of people who we want to blame for everything that goes wrong. Most families know their black sheep. As we look around God’s great garden of people we see the weeds. Some are so annoyed with the weeds that they want to simply burn a section of the field we see as infested with weeds. We don’t even care that there is grain — we do not understand why the master said to let the weeds grow with the wheat.
Now — its easy for me too look around and feel self righteous. Since its campaign season, and people are more obnoxious about politics than I’ve every experienced before. In fact I am getting so frustrated that I would like to do some weeding too. I think of all the noise around me, and I want to silence the loudest voices. Yet perhaps I am looking at things wrongly.
If I truly consider myself — I am growing in this field. Others in the field have already determined that I am a weed, and that my ancestors were weeds. In the context of Friends, the first Quaker Jay that I can prove was disowned. Mary Jay was disowned soon after she became a Jay through marriage to William Jay. It seems like one of my ancestors was disowned every generation until about the time of the civil war. In my personal context, I was very self-righteous. I did not recognize God’s image in others, and spoke out of judgment and not love. I was a rather obnoxious kid who thought he knew everything. In a sense — in my weediness, I wanted to weed God’s garden. As I have both been a person, and part of a group that people recognized as weeds, who am I to say what is a weed?
A friend of mine told me a story from her childhood. Their lawn had a number of pretty yellow flowers. The mother was convinced that these little flowers were weeds, and needed dug up, but the children loved the addition of color. A weed is a plant that is not wanted. For the children, dandelions and wildflowers were not weeds, but part of the landscape. For the adult that wanted a nice green lawn, they were weeds. Us mere plants are presuming a lot when we second guess the Gardener.
As someone who has been identified as a weed at one point — I can say that I really don’t want burned, or ripped out. I don’t think that this approach represents faith in God. Not only are we not the gardener, but our God is a God of miracles. When we want to rip out weeds, we fail to recognize that God is able to change people, to transform them so that we can more clearly see the Divine Image. Not only that, but God is able to transform me — so that I can see God’s image even in the least of these. We don’t know why God seems to favor the helpless — maybe it is because no-one else does. Anyways, when us plants speculate on who might be a weed, we are taking the place of the Gardener.
The biggest reason though that we have no reason to talk is that we believe in a God of miracles. Most likely every one of us is identified as a weed by someone, somewhere. Whether it is by association (Some of us are Republicans, or Democrats, or Independents for example), or because of something harmful we’ve done to another person — there is likely no one who does not appear to be closer to Darnel than Wheat. Of course, those who are remembered as saints spent a good part of their lives as sinners. We remember not only their great faith, but those times when they failed. God gave courage to the coward, humility to the proud, and love to the self involved. God is able to change the heart. When we cry out that we need to weed the Garden — we forget that God is God. It’s not only God’s Garden — but, we believe God can turn weeds into wheat.
- In what ways am I wheat, and in what ways Weed?
- How can I see the wheat in others?
- Do I trust God to be God?