September 23, 2016
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. – Matthew 13:30
A well-landscaped area with trees, flowers, and a trim lawn is pleasing to the eye—it is a portion of God’s beautiful creation. I try to keep my family’s property looking well-kept, but one day, as I went about mowing, edging, fertilizing, and doing other yard work, I discovered that some of our grass was not the type I had planted. As the lawn grew, it became evident that some grass had a wider blade, its color was a slightly different shade of green, and it grew faster. Although I did not know how it had happened, it was clear that some bad seed had been mixed in with the good. Then I had to start thinking about how to get rid of the bad grass.
In the parable of the tares, Jesus told His disciples that the world is like a field, where He plants good seeds and the devil plants bad seeds. At first, before the seeds can bear fruit, the bad ones are unseen. However, as they grow, there are clear differences between the two: the good seeds become wheat, which Jesus calls the children of God, and the bad seeds become tares, which are children of the wicked one.
Interestingly, whereas you or I might be compelled to rip out the tares as soon as we notice them, Jesus’ instructions were to leave everything until harvest time, which represented the end of the world. He said that ripping out the tares would inevitably hurt some of the wheat too, and He was not willing to risk the loss of any of His harvest. It might be difficult to understand, but this means that Jesus allows some evil to remain in the world, and perhaps even to prosper, for the sake of those who will be saved. No doubt allowing such injustice is not easy for God, yet He does it in mercy.
The wickedness allowed to remain in the earth is ugly—much more so than my lawn with random sprouts of taller, darker, wider blades. Yet, we have a promise from God that things will be made right. In the final analysis, there will be a separation of the tares from the wheat; the tares will be burned and the wheat will be gathered into His barn. Then, the righteous shall “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43). What a wonderful hope!