Today I was yanking weeds on the job (I’m a landscaper) and it made me think of Jesus’ parable about the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13). Two things strike me about this parable:
First, I’ve heard this scripture taken out of context so many times it isn’t funny. Usually I hear it in reference to the church, with somebody trying to justify the “mixed multitude” of saints and sinners in a given congregation as fulfilling what Jesus spoke in this passage. However, the Lord himself was clear that the “field” in his stories was representing the world, not his kingdom.
Second, the tendency of those who serve the Lord is to want to rip the tares out of the ground upon first sight. Many a Christian leader out there just can’t wait to get his hands on a wolf, or so it would seem. But our Shepherd is not up for this. His command is to leave them alone; let both grow together until the end of the age when the righteous Judge will do the dividing.
Today while cleaning out that customer’s bed I accidently pulled up a lily along with the weed I was trying to rid her landscape of. This is a very real possibility when pastors, teachers, and otherwise well-intentioned leaders try to do the Lord’s work of dividing the tares from the wheat. We’re just not very good at it. I’ve yet to meet the minister who constantly harps upon false teaching, watching out for wolves, ect., who doesn’t invariably pull up a few good plants along with the tares he may succeed in rooting out.
What’s the answer, then? I say let the Lord deal with those who need dealing. Perhaps there are a few hypothetical situations in the church which would call for discipline, but I dare say those situations are fewer and farther between than most of us will typically allow.
When it comes to rooting out the tares, save it for the Chief Landscaper. 🙂