SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:24-30
OBJECT: a flower or vegetable plant and a weed
Today we’re going to look at another parable Jesus told. He said the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed wheat in his field. Wheat is a good plant; it’s what flour is made of. We use flour to bake bread, cookies, cakes and all sorts of good-tasting things. But when this farmer’s wheat sprouted, there were bunches of weeds mixed in with it.
I brought a good plant with me today. This is a [state name of plant]. But I also brought a weed. It’s not good for weeds to grow with the plants. They use up the water and nutrients in the soil so the plants can’t get as much. The weeds might even get taller than the plants and get more of the sunshine. And they make the space crowded, so the good plants don’t have enough room to grow. You may have seen your mom or your grandpa or someone else pulling weeds out of a garden or flowerbed to try to get rid of them.
As soon as the man in the story saw the weeds, he said, “An enemy has done this!” And sure enough, that’s what Jesus said. An enemy had come creeping in during the night while everyone else was asleep and had planted the weeds in with the good wheat.
The farmer’s servants asked, “Do you want us to pull up the weeds?” But he said, “No.” The word for weeds in this parable, “tares,” describes a particular kind of weed that looks a lot like wheat. Sometimes you really can’t tell the difference between weeds and good plants. Other times you can, but it’s still easy to pull the good plants up by mistake when pulling weeds. The weeds may have roots that have tangled themselves with the roots of the plants underground. So if you yank a weed out of the dirt, you may pull out a good plant by mistake. That’s what the man was afraid would happen if they tried to pull the weeds. He said, “Let them grow together until the harvest. Then we’ll separate them and burn up the weeds.”
Now remember, Jesus used this story to teach us about the kingdom of God. So what was he telling us? Several different things, really. For one thing, good & bad exist together in the world — even in the same people. We can’t look at people like we do plants, and say, “Oh, this is a good one and that’s a bad one.” Actually, we may do that sometimes, though we shouldn’t. But God sees both the good and the bad in all of us.
For another thing, God’s kingdom lives and grows even though there’s evil all around it. The greatest evil of all time was when people crucified Jesus, but that’s the very thing that saves us from our sins. So remember that God is always in control.
And God promises He will deal with evil someday. We don’t have to worry about it because at the end of time He will make everything right. We may not understand how He’s going to do this, but we can trust that He will.