Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Is the parable about weeds and wheat relevant in the 21st century?
Jesus identified the characters as follows: the landowner is Jesus, the enemy is the devil, the field is the world, the wheat is the children of God, the weeds are those who belong to the devil, and the reapers are the angels.
But in the 21st century who are the disciples sent to nurture, feed and cultivate?
Take a look around you. If you are alone, imagine your family or friends. Realize that Jesus has planted seeds in each of us. Each of us has been called to nurture, feed and cultivate those seeds in ourselves and in those whose lives we touch in some way. We have not been called to pull the weeds.
Enjoy that good news. We only need to focus on the work God gave us. God didn’t hand out hallway monitor badges, telling us to find the weeds and separate them.
If we are honest we will acknowledge we all have some weeds sprinkled in with our wheat, I know I do.
Through prayer, study and conversation with colleagues the wheat in me is nurtured. Perhaps the weeds will fuel the refiner’s fire that the prophet Malachi says will remove the impurities from me, leaving only the wheat.
So we can see that Jesus called each of us to do a specific job. That job doesn’t include separating the world into “us” and “them” — the wheat and weeds
This raises an interesting question, what are we to do then about the evil that is around us? Are we to leave it alone? Do we ignore the racist messages we find in our community? Absolutely not.
Yet, when we confront that evil we do so knowing that our role is not to judge, but to nurture, feed and cultivate. Because we should never doubt that our God is capable of anything, even turning weeds into wheat.
So how do we nurture, feed and cultivate?
Maybe we utilize what author and theologian Kurt Struckmeyer called the nine key teachings of Jesus: “radical love, lavish generosity, extravagant forgiveness, inclusive hospitality, compassionate action, selfless service, a passion for justice, creative nonviolence and simple living.”
Here’s the thing about those nine teachings, even during a pandemic when we are quarantining and self-isolating we can still do things.
We can practice radical love through prayer. An email to an elected official can be compassionate action. A donation to the food bank can be lavish generosity.
Even during these very interesting and challenging times we can actively practice the teachings of Jesus and nurture, feed and cultivate the wheat that is in others.
Even in a pandemic we can be part of God’s work to change weeds into wheat.
Jesus has given each of us an assignment. Are we ready to nurture, feed and cultivate the field that is the world, without judgment?
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