Wheat and Weeds and Waiting

I haven’t been posting my sermons online this summer not because I haven’t been preaching, but because I’ve been going it without a net.  No text.  Extemporaneously.

And that means no texts to post.

Which isn’t really fair, I know.  Especially since summertime is upon us and some might not be making it to church and may want to hear snippets from the previous Sunday.  So that’s what I’m doing today.  Giving you the highlights, not the full sermon.  Kinda like the Red Sox in 2.  Except shorter.

This past Sunday the gospel text was from Matthew 13.  Read it here.

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Once upon a time there was a farmer, and one day he awoke to find his only horse had gotten out of the stable and run off.  When the townspeople heard about they came to consul him, telling him how awful this was and that his horses fleeing must be so devastating.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

A few days later as he was out in his field, the farmer saw his horse racing back to the farm.  With him were three other wild horses.  When the townspeople heard, they came to him saying, “You must be so thrilled!  How amazing that your horse came back and brought these three other horses with him!  What a wonderful turn of events!”

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

That weekend the man’s only son attempted to tame one of those new horses, and he fell and broke his leg.  Upon hearing the news, the townspeople rushed to him, “How dreadful!” they said.  “You must be so horrified to have your son injured this way.  Truly this is downright awful.”

“Maybe,” he said.

Later that week, civil authorities came into town looking to take all the young men of the town off to war.  The farmer’s son was left behind due to his broken leg.  When the townspeople hear, they came to him.  “You must be overjoyed that your son is not going off to war!  This is unbelievable news!”

“Maybe.”

 

Jesus tells us a parable this morning about a farmer and some wheat.  The farmer has done everything right, he’s planted the seeds, and is giving them lots of water and nutrients.  However, sometime during the planting season, an enemy has come in and sown the seeds of some weeds, and done so without anyone knowing about it.

Did you catch it in our reading? It wasn’t until the grain began to appear that the workers of the field noticed the weeds.  The Greek word is zizanion, and this type of weed looks exactly like wheat, that is until the grain head appears.  And by that time, the weeds would have had their roots all tangled with the weeds.  “Should we go and pull up all the weeds,” the servants ask.  “No,” said the farmer. “Let’s wait.”

We like to make determinations about people and their status as wheat or weeds almost upon meeting them.  We even use the same kind of language; “That girl over there, she’s a bad seed,” we’ll say.  We make distinctions and tend to root people out right away from the field.

But Jesus says that that isn’t our job.  We’re not called to judge.

A parishioner was telling me recently about a young man he met whose life had been turned around by Straight Ahead ministries.  He was a former gang member, and had been shot at and stabbed.  Through the ministry, he found Christ and his life was turned around.  And now he was hoping to begin something new.

And he was terrified.

The parishioner looked at him and asked why, since he had been in a gang, and injured and all that.  And he replied, “Because no one has ever believed in me.  I’m terrified of this not working out and letting people down.”

We aren’t called to judge, that’s God’s work that will happen at the end of the age, by the angels no less.  We “slaves” aren’t even inovlved in the process.

Instead, we’re called to tend the filed, to make conditions right for growing, and to go out and be wheat to the world.  Wheat brings nourishment, and we’re called to be the body of Christ to a hurting world, to bring nourishment to them.

God wants to wait it out.  God sees what we may think are weeds, and says, “Nope! That’s wheat.  Watch what happens!”  God is so patient with us.  And when we say surely this person is wheat and that other is a weed, God looks down and says, “Maybe.”