Wheat & Weeds

July 23, 2017

There are times it seems pretty obvious what a weed is.  We can find them in our gardens, along sidewalks and in the midst of grassy plains.  Yet internally, spiritually, what do we define as a weed?  It might be obvious that we would define it as sin.  The sin in our lives are the weeds.  That seems pretty easy and cut and dry.  But weeds by their nature have deep roots.  How did the journey of sin infest itself in our lives? Like being able to identify the weeds, we also are to eventually get rid of them.  What a chore it is to weed the garden.  What an even tougher chore to make a healthy examination of conscience.  So often we are not driven to a difficult Examination of Conscience.  One of the best I heard was out of Fenwick High School when I went there to hear confessions.  The examination related to a high school student’s life.  From the easy ones to identify, such as cheating on a test or underage drinking at a party, they went even deeper.  They were not afraid to talk of the sins of premarital sex, using condoms, and birth control.  They outlined the definition of bullying and shaming others.  They spoke of violent words and the power of gossip.  I was impressed with the depth of defining the sin, not in generalities, but with specifics. So often we just skim over the generalities. We say, “and all of the sins I can’t remember”.  Sometimes we do remember them, but we would rather not speak them out loud.  In this there is a great deception of ourselves.

So we have weeds.  What about wheat? Its golden color allures the eyes to see its beauty.  At the harvest we even decorate our homes with sheaves of wheat. What is the wheat of our soul and our spirit growing?   Moments of grace can easily be seen as the place of wheat in the garden of our lives.  We see the times when prayers were answered and the real presence of God was overflowing in our lives.  We remember pivotal conversations, times when we were overcome with joy or the fear was calmed in the midst of turmoil.  All of this is an excellent starting point to the wheat of our lives.

Now we get to the reality of the teaching.  The owner of the land allows it all to grow together.  He says let us wait till the harvest to pull all of the mature crops out and then we will separate the weeds from the wheat.  That is a fascinating part of the story.  We are quick to call out sin and destroy it.  We are quick to point out other people’s sin as well.  In his wisdom, the owner of the land says let it go.  Let them grow together.  It doesn’t seem right.  Yet the wisdom of God is greater than the weeds, greater than the sin.  All of this takes place so that we can use the weeds in our lives to move to repentance.  We are to use the sin in our lives to seek a Savior.  That does not make sin okay, acceptable and something that should not be confessed.  On the contrary, we are to see the sin as the way to acknowledge our need for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Over and over again we are to recognize the weeds and ask for help.  In the asking for help, in the seeking of forgiveness lies the wisdom of God.  Our need for Him comes from the awareness of our sin.  In the deepest darkness moments of our lives, who do we turn to?  God.  These moments are exactly where God can enter in and make the most profound impact.  He longs for our need.  The weeds will always be with us, not to stunt the growth of the wheat, but to make it grow all the stronger.

Leave it to the harvester to know the true definition of wheat and weeds. He will come and sort it out at the time of the harvest. What we have to do is to become accepting of who we are; a mixture of wheat and weeds.  We are a mixture of sin and grace.  At no time in our lives are we not a combination of both.  Darkness and light are a part of our lives.  Sin and grace.  Death and resurrection.  Being aware that all of this grows within us offers us the moment of great awakening.  Our sin is to lead us to grace, our sin is to lead us to our need for forgiveness.  Our graced moments are to lead us to the glory of God and a deepening love for God. This is where it is all important.  All of the experiences of our lives are to lead us in open direction…to God.  Whether it is sin or grace, it is all to lead us to God.  Weeds and wheat are to wait until the end when the harvester will take care of everything.  Live in the moment, trust in God’s plan and allow everything to lead you to Him.

Reverend John J. Ouper