Matthew 13:24-30 - He [Jesus] put another parable before them, saying, "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 has 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."'"
Why doesn't God just kill off all the evil people in the world? This is a question I've had after listening to some especially horrible crime report. I bet you've had it, too. It seems like an easy answer. Get rid of the wicked, save the good. Make the world clean and perfect right now.
It's a seductive idea. And there have been many people in history who've tried to act on it—who've set themselves up in God's place, to judge between the good and the wicked, and to destroy the evil. Even Christians can fall for this temptation. Which might be why Jesus told this parable.
God chooses to do things differently. Like the farmer in this story, He isn't caught napping. His men miss the enemy's mischief, but not Him. He has been awake and aware all the while. And while He never explains why He allowed the mischief to go forward, He does explain why He won't allow His servants to correct it by weeding the whole field right now: "If you do that right now, you're bound to pull up some of the wheat at the same time. Better to wait till harvest."
The same thing is true for our broken world, isn't it? Evil and good grow right next to each other. Their roots are intertwined. Those who belong to God and those who belong to the devil—they live as neighbors; they marry each other; they are born into the same families. And some people live their whole lives long appearing to be one or the other, and surprising everyone in the end.
No, we can't do God's job of judging and separating for Him. The best we can do is to obey His command: "Let both grow together until the harvest." In the meantime we pray, we do good to all our neighbors, whatever they may look like in our opinions, and we follow Jesus—who gave His life on the cross for all of us. Because He is the only one who can transform weedy hearts into God's true wheat, and bring God's harvest safely home.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, help me to hold back from condemning the people around me. Use me for their good instead. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Did you ever mistake a good plant for a weed, or vice versa? Tell the story.
2. Have you ever been misjudged by someone else? What effect did that have on you?
3. How can you show Jesus' love and mercy to someone who might seem like a waste of space to you right now?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"