April showers bring May weeds. That’s not how the saying goes! Jesus once told a parable about weeds. He said, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who planted good wheat seed. Yet, while people were sleeping, his enemy came and planted weed seeds in the same field. When the weeds appeared among the wheat, the man’s servants came to him perplexed. “Didn’t you plant good seed?” they asked him, “where did these weeds come from?” The man replied, “An enemy did this.” So, the servants proposed a common-sense solution, “Do you want us to pull up the weeds?” Logical. Right? Not for this man. “Leave them,” he ordered, “because, while pulling up the weeds, you might uproot the wheat with them.” What was his solution? “When harvest time comes, I will tell the harvesters to uproot, bundle, and burn the weeds. Then I will have them gather up the wheat and put it in my barn.” (cp. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)
The parable does not teach us the finer points of agriculture. It teaches us about the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven.
A few days ago, the BBC ran a story on the English comedian and actor Stephen Fry. Responding to what he might say to God at the gates of heaven, Fry said: “How dare you create a world in which there is such misery? It’s not our fault? It’s not right. It’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who created this universe…” Although few would express it as strongly, many have made similar accusations.
The parable teaches us that evil will not last forever. The Jews of Jesus’ day wanted the evil dominion of Rome destroyed instantly. We, like Stephen Fry, may want misery and injustice done away with instantly. But, be careful what you wish for, because the evil you want destroyed may be the evil that resides in you too. Remember Noah and the Flood? God destroyed what was wicked.
Thankfully, God is not quick to judge. He is slow to anger, longsuffering, and wants all to be saved. He will not touch a single weed, until the fullness of time. Why? Because, judgement has been graciously delayed, so that the harvest will be complete (cp. 2 Peter 3:8-9). All those who remain sons and daughters of the Evil One will be judged. But, the sons and daughters of the kingdom, “the righteous,” they “will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.”