Pulling Weeds

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

“ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

“ ‘No,’ he answered.” Matthew 13:27-29 (NIV)

One of Satan’s great strategies is to distract the workers of God.  He gets us pulling weeds.  Jesus told this parable to let people know that not only is God sowing seeds in the soil of human kind, the Evil One is also.  This is such a helpful story for those who are diligently working to build the Kingdom of God, let me tell you why.

First, it is important to note the surprise of the servants when they discover the weeds the enemy has planted.  That same surprise echoes through the halls of our churches and in the back rooms of our ministries today.  We are continually surprised that the weeds of the Evil One keep popping up where we are working in the fields of God.  We somehow expect that our ministries will be weed free.  Comments such as “And they call themselves Christians…” or “Can you believe he did that?” or “That was so hurtful and mean!” can be heard passing the lips of the most positive minded pastor or Christian worker.   We are continually surprised that evil keeps growing in the garden of God.  Jesus is telling us not to be surprised and does so for good reason.  Many a Christian worker has become embittered or disheartened by the weeds of disappointing people and sinful behaviours they have found in God’s work.  In some cases the “weeds” have caused workers to leave their calling or to be unduly wounded because they never expected to find these weeds in God’s field.

A second reason Jesus’ words are so important is because of distraction.  It is very easy for the servants of God to become distracted from their calling and spend all their time pulling the weeds.  No doubt there are acts of evil and people that need to be dealt with, but Christ cautions the workers to let God sort things out at the end of the age.  It seems he encourages a certain comfort level with weeds being side by side and interspersed with the work we are doing.

In addition, Jesus gives a comfort to his workers — a day is coming when the weeds will be you-call-them-weedsdealt with.  At the end of the age there will be a sorting of the wheat and the weeds.  The angels of God will take care of the weeds.

So in this time as we work until the end of the age, let us take care to not be unduly surprised about weeds in the fields of God.  Let us not lose heart because of them or be distracted from our callings.  Furthermore, let us move forward with the assurance that a day is coming when the weeds will be dealt with.