Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 (NRSV)
24He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And 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?' 28He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' 29But he replied, 'No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let 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.'" 36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." 37He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
The disciples were present in the larger crowd as Jesus told this parable of the wheat and the tares. They had heard the farmer’s instructions to the slave to wait and be patient. Now Jesus is done telling parables to the crowd and has gone into the house alone with his disciples. When the disciples confide in Jesus that they don’t understand the parable, Jesus patiently explains the meaning of the story and reveals two things to them.
First, it’s not the time to judge anyone. Oh, how I judge others all the time. Gracious Farmer, please forgive me.
Second, Jesus says that when the judging time does come, it will not be up to us to judge between wheat and tares. Today, while I am out growing in the field, may I see everyone as potential wheat and continue to grow and witness to others about the patience of God.
O God, we come before you knowing that we are both wheat and weeds. Forgive us our sins. Nourish us and all others as we grow into becoming your kingdom on earth. Amen.