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The Meaning of the Wheat and the Tares for our Times

Remember the parable of the Wheat and the Tares? How good and bad are growing together?

We are moving inevitably towards harvest time. We often think of that as a purely positive thing – a great ingathering of souls to the kingdom – but with the harvest comes the winnowing.

Both good and evil are present – and both are GROWING!

Yeshua presented to them another parable, saying:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while the men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Now when the stalk sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared.

So the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’

But he replied, ‘An enemy did this.’

Now the slaves say to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and gather them up?’

But he says, ‘No, for while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time, I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30)

God made only good things, as Genesis chapter one makes abundantly clear. But it wasn’t long before evil slithered into the story and planted a few bad seeds of his own. This was the cost of creating the possibility for genuine love. Real love must be voluntary, and volition requires freedom. Freedom must necessarily leave the door open, and evil entered the scene.

Now when we look at our world, we see both good and bad. Some like to see only one or the other: “Humanity is basically good!” Or the opposite direction: “We are a generation of spoilt narcissists!” Neither picture, I hope you’ll agree, is complete. We have plenty of both good and bad in uncomfortable and contradictory juxtaposition.

The importance of seeing both the wheat and the tares at once

Jesus tells us the parable of the wheat and the tares to help us understand the situation we are living in. We must accept the reality that evil is inseparably intertwined with the good. We might long to put a comfortable distance between good and bad, but this is not an option available to us. Instead, we are offered the assurance that God will sort it all out with perfect justice in the end.

=> Fear No Evil

I have been challenged recently by the fact that Jesus does not retreat from evil doers – neither the prostitutes and sinners we are familiar with him hanging out with, nor the “brood of vipers” of the suffocating religious establishment. He holds his ground and maintains his stance whoever he encounters. There’s no “doing away” with people. That will come later.

Now the slaves say to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and gather them up?’

But he says, ‘No, for while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.

Let both grow. For now.

Some focus only on the ripe fields while ignoring the devastation of the enemy on the rampage, while others become overwhelmed with evil and miss the extraordinary outpouring of revelation that is coming to so many at this time. But wisdom recognizes both simultaneously.

Also, remember that the parable of the wheat and the tares is not static – the picture is dynamic with the good and the evil growing together.

Both good and bad are increasing. We can expect as time goes on for evil to increase in seriousness and in volume. We can also expect, with the passing weeks, months and years, for good to grow. We can expect to see more of God’s glory here on this earth, more people coming to faith, more demonstrations of God’s mighty power and salvation.

The question is, are we, God’s laborers, in position and ready for harvest time?

 

Photo by Michael Callaghan on Unsplash

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