If the parables of Mathew’s Gospel are to teach us about God then what can we learn about God from the Parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-40)? Jesus takes the time to explain the parable to the disciples who are still trying to work everything out. The disciples are finding it hard to understand why Jesus would not want them to confront and overcome evil, especially if they find it amongst themselves.
So it is understandable that they might be mixed up when Jesus tells them that the Kingdom is like a mixed up field in this moment; that has both wheat and tares growing in it. The natural reaction of any good gardener is to go and deal with the weeds. You spray them with chemicals. You run them over with lawnmowers. You pull them out by their roots, either with some specially design garden implement or by hand. But weeds must be deal with at all costs!
That is not how God deals with such a situation. God takes time and patience. God waits. He watches as the fields ripple in the wind like waves on the ocean. God witnesses the fight of the birds in the air and the swimming of the fish in the sea. God sits with children on his knee, listening with joy to their tales. Then he takes them and bless them. God considers how the grasses and flowers of the field grow and array themselves. God even takes the time to wait at the gates for that prodigal child who is late in coming home, having plundered his inheritance. God waits for that child to embrace, forgive and welcome him and her home.
What can this parable each us? That we cannot judge like God judges. Our desire is to get to the root of the matter, by holding an inquest, a trial, or even a royal commission. We will get all the relevant “facts” and make a supposed dispassionate decision and then of course dispense punishment. The recent case of Casey Anthony is a perfect point. Many people, including members of the jury, believe that she has harmed her daughter and that she is a very shallow person capable of all most anything. Many will believe that justice has been denied the little girl. Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of the crimes many believe she was accused of. And some I suspect would like to take justice into their own hands. Shouldn’t we stand back and realize that all of us are in the same position where God is concerned? Shouldn’t we recognize that there is no health, no salvation in any of us? That judgment and salvation both belong to God and not to anyone else?
Jesus points out to his disciples that rushing to judgment when we cannot see clearly causes more grief and does more damage than when we are patient and wait. God meets us here in this place, in this community, this Bethel where we are living and suffering. You know the feeling… when parents used to tell about how hard it was when they were kids. They would say things like, “At least Jacob had stone for a pillow. We had nothing and we were always happy! It’s not like it is now days.” We are not dealing with a God who is going to wait until we get it right and we make ourselves ready to be in relationship with him. God in Christ active seeks us out. God is generous not only in the supplying of the ministry of the Church but in the building of every relationship with every person. God is wildly generous to all who will come to him with love grace and mercy. And God is not waiting until we in the Church “get it”. The truth about God is at hand and the kingdom is here, in us.
We are called by God to be patient and to prayerfully watch and wait – like him! The Church in the midst of this world and this life is to overcome evil and temptation not with brute power and fit of temper but with patience and forbearance. We as individuals and as community can do more damage and evil if we answer in rash and inconsiderate words and actions the words and deeds of others. One injustice cannot correct another. If we act in such a manner, then we risk becoming that very thing which we abhor.
So this week, let’s try to be patient, knowing that there is work to be done. Like those servants heed the Master and wait so that we might yet be a blessing to those who are still growing up and draw others into the kingdom, that the Banquet room might be filled.