It’s harvest time on the prairies — an entire season of hard work and great financial investment threshed and stored for future use. Farmers and laborers feel the pressure during this brief window of opportunity.
Globally our province sits small in proportion, but giant in production. Vast acres of spring, durum and winter wheat, canola, peas, lentils, mustard and flax gulped into massive equipment, and scurried to storage facilities. It’s an amazing achievement!
The farmer chose his seed well, fertilized and cared for the crop during the ensuing months, protecting against disease and pests. However, you can be sure of one thing — every field will have a mixture of good crop and weeds. What! How?
Weeds just are! Whether in my small garden plot, or fields stretching across the horizon, weeds are a perpetual problem. They sap the soil of vital nutrients and moisture.
No one labors for weeds! Yet, they are everywhere — sometimes sitting dormant in the soil for decades. Persistent, invasive, and despised!
Wheat and Tares
“Jesus told them another parable:
‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
But while everyone was sleeping,
his enemy, came and sowed weeds
among the wheat, and went away.
When the wheat sprouted
and formed heads,
then the weeds also appeared.”
Every farmer and gardener can relate. The farmer doesn’t refuse to harvest the field because weeds are present. The gardener doesn’t reject the produce because weeds also grew in the garden.
Every farmer, including this farmer in the parable, fights weeds to protect the valued crop until harvest time.
The servants came to the landowner prepared to take immediate action,
“The servants asked him,
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
‘No,’ he answered,
‘because while you are pulling the weeds,
you may uproot the wheat with them.’ “
Oh, how often I’ve been like these servants, rushing in to do what I can without forethought.
“For there is a proper time and
procedure for everything. . .”
Don’t Throw it Out
I think of another old expression, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!” In other words, in the haste to discard something undesirable, avoid throwing away something else worth holding on to.
In North America, we too quickly throw away the good. We see evidence of imperfections and cast the whole lot aside. Whether possessions, ministries, or people, whatever no longer serves our purpose or makes us look and feel good, we dispose of.
“Let both grow together until the harvest. . .”
Farmers learn how to harvest their crops in such a way that the least amount of weeds stays with the good grain. By setting the sieves, the chaff, weed seeds, and shrivelled kernels (or dockage) falls to the ground. Yet, try as he might a perfect sample often seems impossible to attain.
God has been speaking to me about the weeds in my life — the dockage He desires to remove. As much as I attempt to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, I’m exasperated by the blatant evidence of pride, selfishness and unbelief that remains in my “life sample.” God pours His grace into me, lovingly caring for every detail, yet I’m blemished, unproductive, and often disappointed with myself.
“But while everyone was sleeping,
his enemy came and sowed weeds
among the wheat,
and went away.”
This side of heaven we have an enemy, sowing the bad among the good God starts. I want it pulled out NOW, so that only good can flow from my life. Sometimes the tension feels intense!
At the root of everything ungodly live these three potent weeds: pride, selfishness and unbelief. All present themselves subtlely. I need gutsy people to challenge me when they see them sprouting up and taking root. Faithful mentors question the motivations behind my words and actions.
Through this parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus offered insight into the end of all things when God Himself will separate the good from the evil. Until then, our world, both external and internal, will contain both.
It’s interesting that the enemy worked while “everyone was sleeping.” That challenges me to alertness.
“. . . For we are not unaware
of (Satan’s) schemes.”
2 Corinthians 2:11
Just as the faithful farmer knows his crops and fields, I cannot afford to be ignorant of my personal weaknesses and tendencies.
God points me to another principle, however. What about those around me? Do I cast them aside, pulling them out by their roots, like the foolish servants wanted to do, while they are still developing in their faith? How do I treat others when evidence of weeds hang in heaps from them?
Do I water the “good seed” God is nurturing in them, allowing His sovereign ways and time to deal with the “dockage?” Am I so focused on the messy parts of people’s lives I miss the good God wants me to focus on? Do I see His reflection in everyone I meet?
“At That Time”
The parable reads,
“At that time I will tell the harvesters:
First collect the weeds and
tie them in bundles to be burned;
then gather the wheat and
bring it into my barn.”
This requires patience and trust on my part. God determines the time of the ultimate harvest. He instructs the harvesters in the process. He decides what will be preserved or destroyed.
“That time” is coming! The evidence of the natural harvest hangs thick in the autumn air. I pray I will as clearly sense the urgency of the spiritual harvest around me.
It’s harvest time! God’s good seed has produced well.