While Jesus told tons of stories about the nature of his kingdom, one of the most powerful ones is found in Matthew 13 alongside several others. Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 13:24-30) When the wheat began to grow the weeds appeared with the wheat. The workers asked the owner if they should go out and pull up the weeds. He told them not to do so since in pulling them up they would also uproot much of the wheat, but to wait until time for harvest and then the harvesters would gather the weeds out first and throw them into the fire then gather the wheat.
When Jesus explained the parable to his disciples he said the kingdom is the world, the one who planted the good seed was the Son of Man and the good seed was the people of the kingdom. The one who sowed the weeds was the devil. The harvesters are the angels and the harvest will be at the end of the world when the angels gather out of his kingdom all that offends to cast them in the fire so that the sons of the kingdom may shine like the sun in His kingdom.
There are many great lessons from this story but let me focus on a couple. One is the fact the children of God, the disciples are the good seed or the wheat. We often want to go back to the parable of the sower and make the seed the word. But it is we, the disciples that must grow, spread and increase the harvest for the Lord. Now the weeds that are sown all around the disciples of the Lord will always torment us. The devil is constantly busy sowing weeds in the kingdom so that there will indeed be those around us who claim to be disciples themselves but who seem to always be leading people away from what is right rather than to the right.
How are we as followers of Christ to handle the problem of weeds? Many times in church we lose focus on the wheat because we see so many of the weeds in the field and believe we must do something to destroy all the weeds. Many times the preacher or the leaders of the congregation become experts in killing weeds. They have studied weeds and know where they went wrong and are intent on driving them out of the church or kingdom of the Lord. The sad thing is when we begin to focus on the weeds; it invariably leads to taking the eyes off the wheat, which is the people of God, the Disciples of Christ. Now think about it. What if the wheat farmer becomes so intent on killing weeds that he neglects the wheat? He may have very clean fields, but not much wheat.
In church we need to remember the point Jesus made. We can’t get the weeds out of the field. If we try we will destroy much of the wheat, the disciple crop at the same time. Leave them alone until the harvest and the angels of God can gather them without a single mistake. Too often when we try to get the weeds out we actually take out many struggling disciples who are trying, growing, but still weak and need help, encouragement and love. The Lord at the end of the harvest is the only one to handle some things.