Good Seed & Weeds…What is the Difference?
It is not uncommon for those Christians working hard to build up the congregations they attend to express frustration with the ways their efforts are thwarted by members whose negative attitudes cultivate on-going strife in the fellowship. We also see our efforts to lead the lost to Christ side-tracked or blocked when those teaching false doctrine manage to distract precious souls we have been studying with, so they lose interest in the truth. The temptation of discouragement is a frequent stalker of the Christian who makes top priority of serving God in the congregation and the community and the workplace.
Jesus shared a parable with his disciples relevant to this topic, which encourages us not only to continue our attempts to serve, but to trust in the ultimate wisdom of God. Consider the parable as told in Matthew 13:24-30, and explained in verses 37-43.
“…The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy had done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
“He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
We see that not only are there good and bad people in the world, there are also good and bad people in the kingdom as alluded to in v. 41. Many of these law-breakers are not easily distinguished from the true followers of the Son of Man. The servants of the Master are not permitted to remove them for eternal punishment because there is a risk they might remove the wrong ‘grain’. Only the angels, at the final harvest, are capable of making that determination. Until that time, the productive, fruitful seed grows side by side the seed that saps the resources of light, warmth, and water, but adds no fruit. The Master is aware of the situation, however, and at the end, once the offensive, lawless weeds have been removed, the productive wheat will shine out.
In another passage in Matthew Jesus deals with the topic of false, disobedient people who mimic his followers. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:21-24. The people described in these verses may have been famous for their religiosity and philanthropy, perhaps outshining obedient Christians. But Jesus assures his followers that he will be able to tell the difference by whether or not they have obeyed the will of God.
The apostle John assures us we can know whether we are the true, ‘good seed’ or a ‘weed’ based upon how we behave. “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice for sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. I John 3:8-10.
Paul warns and encourages the troubled Galatian Christians on this subject, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6: 7-10.
As a Christian, one who aspires to be of the good seed we read about in the parable at the beginning, I learn from this short study that my Master knows there is evil present, always attempting to interfere with my efforts to serve Him. Some of that evil takes the form of lawless, rebellious brothers and sisters. Controversy abounds in our society, outside and inside the church. But God wants me as an individual to obey His Word and persevere in doing His Will. Recently I read a rebuke of Christians on social media, a generalization that Christians desire to be known by the things they are against, that our gospel begins with negating everyone else. I hope these verses encourage the reader as they have me to remember that as Christians we should above all be FOR obeying God. His Word should be our authority, the first cause we strive to support. May we not lose heart as we fulfill our God-given roles in His Kingdom on earth, looking forward to eternity in Heaven, shining with Him.
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