Wheat and Tares

This week’s parable comes from Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 – the parable of the wheat and the tares. In the Middle-Eastern culture of Jesus’ time, an enemy would sometimes take revenge on his neighbor by sowing weed seeds among a newly planted wheat crop. These insidious little tare seeds would closely imitate the wheat all the way up until the “fruit” began to appear. (Hmmm… we’ve talked about fruit before, haven’t we?) Christ, of course, explains that the wheat is the “children of the kingdom” and the tares are the “children of the Devil.” As we apply this to our lives, perhaps even our churches today, God is clear that we are not allowed to begin separating the wheat and the tares! Even in our zeal to get rid of the weeds, Jesus–the Master Farmer–will not risk one single wheat sprout being uprooted! He reserves judgment for Himself alone.

Notice that the germination of both seeds occurs under the soil’s surface–invisible to the outward eye. In fact, both even share the same nourishment (rain, water, oxygen) from the same life-giving Source. Throughout this process, the wheat and the weed seeds are indistinguishable… until verse 26 that is: “When the plants sprouted and produced grain [or “fruit”], then the weeds also appeared” (HCSB). Jesus warned us to beware of false teachers in the church: “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). We are told that the tares will produce fruit that is in complete contrast to the fruit that Christ seeks to nurture in us as we continue to abide with Him: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-34). I am going to take some time this week to reflect on where there may be weeds in my life trying to crowd out God’s voice and the fruit that He wants to produce in me.

One last thing: the tares in this story are weeds from seed to plant. But for us, let’s remember that Jesus Christ has the life-changing power to take hold of our lives and transform us from tares into beautiful sheaves of wheat, if we will only ask Him.”

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