He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’
Devotion by Rev. Courtney Jones
What strikes me in this passage is the idea that an enemy would plant weeds in the field. That’s a lot of work with not a lot of reward. Maybe I’m just extra vindictive, but I have to wonder what other options might exist to wreak havoc on the life of an enemy. You could burn the whole field and destroy the crop, or you could go under the cover of night and harvest the wheat to keep for yourself, or maybe any other of a number of options.
While playing with the parable, I begin to wonder if the damage to the crop is the work of an invisible enemy, or if it’s just a simple accident. Doesn’t that seem more likely? Some wild seeds got mixed in with the good seed, and it all got planted together. The end result is the same: there are some weeds, some wheat, and the best option for the sake of the whole harvest is to let it all grow until the farmhands can tell what’s what.
In our spiritual lives, I certainly believe in evil, and I certainly believe it has the ability to impede our progress in building beloved community. However, I am not sure that evil is sown by Satan as much as it is embedded in our knowledge of good and evil combined with our human clumsiness. Much of my own “weediness,” if you will, is not because I intend to be evil or do harmful things. Unfortunately, there are systems of power and privilege that blind me to the ways I am complicit in the oppression of others. I am weedy, and I sow weeds without ever intending to. Does it impact the harvest, by which I mean, the universal and eternal liberation God longs for? Of course. Does it ruin it? I don’t know, but I doubt it. Because I’m also “wheaty,” as are we all. We all have some wheat and some weeds in our spiritual gardens. Scripture reminds us time and again, though, that God uses us for the Kin-dom despite, and because of, our human foibles. The harvest is abundant even with the weeds.
Prayer: God, our Holy Gardener, tend our hearts for the harvest of Your love, peace, and justice. Use my wheat and even my weeds in service of abundance and liberation, for I am only human and doing the best that I can. Amen.