Matthew 13:24-30

I love the Word of God – especially how He expresses Himself in scripture. Perhaps the Christian academic might say my love is limited because my study is limited. While I am not opposed to it, I do not go into my time in His word primarily to add to my base of knowledge. I am as interested in the “spirit” of the texts as I am the informational “letter” of their content. My deepest ambition is to know the heart of the Author. I want to know His heart like He knows mine. I want to enjoy His presence as I read and meditate. That is my chief desire.

I know that I do not do scholarly justice to the daily texts in the way perhaps, of an exegetical teacher. My approach is generally to just ask the Lord to speak to me. After reading the passage many times (often a day before I write), an idea or a short phrase or sentence will often begin to stand out. I will then see what light the rest of the passage and its broader context sheds on that seed-thought. While attempting to honor the text I also consider the ways that that seed may have already been growing and become a part of me by asking; What passion has it awakened? What dream has it stirred? How has the verse disturbed me? How has it exposed me? Today, the phrase “how then does it have tares?” is the one that is standing out.

This question was asked by some of the master’s slaves who seemed surprised to see tares in their master’s field which was known to have been sown with “good” seed. Most of these seed / sower type of stories seem related to individuals. This one has traditionally been applied to souls that are saved or lost with the tares (lost souls) being bundled and burned and the wheat (saved souls) being gathered and taken into the barn.

However, since this is a kingdom of God parable, I am also drawn to consider the broader context which includes all of those places that God aspires to reign. That may apply to that vast area referred to as the “air”- a spirit-domain in which Satan currently wields influence as a prince all the way down to nations, into communities, and other various human networks. I think kingdom reign especially applies to the domain of the human heart – a unique spirit arena where our consent is needed for kingdom seeds to grow and bear fruit.

I think many (Christians included) look at this world that God, who is both good and sovereign, created and ask, “How then does it have tares?”. How did things get so messed up?! The passage tells us that the tares were sown while man slept and that it was done by an enemy who no doubt aspires to destroy (if possible) or disrupt (at the very least) the Master’s harvest.

There is quite a contrast in reaction between the master and his workers. The workers are distraught at the presence of tares and propose hasty means of ridding the field of them. In contrast, the master is not alarmed or threatened by tares. He is patient and willing to permit them to grow side by side as if His ultimate harvest will be unaffected by them. Even though they are sharing sun, soil and water with the intended crop, the Master Gardner is not devastated by the presence of tares. No doubt, (at least in the context of society) these tares, with their money, preferences and votes are spoiling things for the main harvest who aspire to live peacefully and prosperously in a garden that is weed free.

We need the patience of God when we are tempted to ask, “where did these tares come from?” We may need restraint before we propose and act upon our own hasty solutions. When we see evil at work (within or without), we need to consider that Satan, as a temporary “prince”, sowed these tares (anti-kingdom propaganda and lies) while we slept. We must keep in mind that the sower of eternal Truth is an eternal King reigning over an ever-expanding
kingdom who has said of His Word; it will not return to Him void of the intended harvest.

Father, awaken us to recognize the lies and half-truths that have been sown into us while we slept. May we entrust them to You to pull away from our hearts at the right time and the right way. Help us to have Your patience in a world that seems overrun by tares. Amen.

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