The Wheat and the Tares – Matthew 13

Almost a year ago, a good friend and mentor of mine had a word of knowledge from God while in the shower.

I do not know why God often chooses to communicate with people while they are in the shower, but I know of several instances where this has happened.  And in one case, I can personally verify that the words were from God – there was no other possible way that the recipient could have known what I was praying for in the other room.

My friend’s message of last year was this:

“Let both the wheat and the weeds grow together until the harvest, which works if someone is planting and attending to the wheat”.

A word of knowledge from God is a spiritual gift.   This one was a direct reference to a parable that Jesus told the crowd and later explained in private to His disciples.  

Jesus told this right after the Parable of the Sower, which described the fulfillment of the Isaiah 6 prophecy on why so many hearts end up rejecting God’s message of grace and love.  The upside of the Parable of the Sower is that there is a subset of people that will hear God’s message, and like a fruitful field, will produce a harvest of souls for the coming kingdom of God.

Jesus told His next story, the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, to reveal an additional complication to kingdom living – while on this earth, all believers will be surrounded by evil and the temptation to sin against God.  The harvest will always be under attack by an enemy.

A tare is basically a weed which looks just like wheat when starting out but becomes quite harmful to the wheat as it grows.  It is a sort of agricultural “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.  Most of the crowd Jesus was addressing knew all about tares and their negative impact on the wheat harvest.

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”  Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV

Jesus later explained to His disciples that the wheat are believers that sprout up from the seed of the word to become a part of His eternal kingdom.  The tares are evil-hearted ones “sown” by the devil to tempt away, offend and harm the believers through lawless acts.  They will be separated out of the kingdom by God’s angels, but not until the end of the age.  In the meantime, they will be given every opportunity to turn away from their harmful ways and to become a part of the wheat harvest.

I have seen many, many examples of people who lived a life of harming others only to be called away from that life and given a new and loving heart by God.  One prison I volunteered in even opened up a seminary where men of newfound faith have become prison chaplains to scatter the seed of God’s word in other prisons throughout their state.  Their conversions are authentic, as testified by their fruits.

God gives all of us second, third and hundredth chances to turn away from our rebellious and stubborn lifestyles. But even a loving God has His limits, and we should never hesitate to take advantage of His generous and longsuffering ways when He reaches out to us to repent and turn to Him.

What about my friend’s word of knowledge?

After he told me about it, I decided to latch onto it as a sort of mission statement for this blog.  “Planting and attending to the wheat” until my days are done or until Jesus comes in His kingdom, whichever comes first.  May the Lord bless and prosper this work and all of our works that seek to serve Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Reflection

What temptations surround you that you need help overcoming?

Lord, protect us from the tares of the evil one which surround us each day.  Keep our roots safe in You, and watch over all of our families.  Help us to be busy about Your harvest field until Jesus comes with all of His angels to bring in the kingdom age.  Amen.

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