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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 13:24–30

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And 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?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let 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.’” (NRSV)

If you have ever owned a lawn, you know how stubbornly persistent and obnoxious weeds can be. Every spring, despite all of our collective efforts to remove them the previous year, the weeds seemingly arrive en masse, spreading quickly if we don’t get on top of them again. I swear I’ve said something awfully similar to verse 27 before: “Did I not sow good seed in my [yard]? Where, then, did these weeds come from?”

Jesus’ words, however, go well beyond basic lawn care. As in the similar parable of the sower, Jesus is using these agrarian metaphors to describe his message taking root in the hearts of his disciples, followers, and other hearers of the gospel. Merely hearing these words leaves no guarantee of them bearing fruit, and it may even be difficult to distinguish the good growth from the bad at times. Perhaps, like most lawns or farms, we all carry some mixture of weeds and wheat within us, and we are thus tasked with the difficult work of trying to remove these unwanted aspects of our behavior and identity from within us.

We are never a finished product, of course. To finish torturing the metaphor, we will all go through different seasons and times of growth in our lives, and we will always need to remain vigilant in tending to ourselves. But with careful, routine practice—and through opening ourselves up to listen for God’s call in our lives—we can experience the joy of God’s word taking root in our lives.

Almighty God, may you help to foster good growth within my life, challenging me to pull weeds when needed and always keeping me open to your spirit at work in and through me. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

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