Thought for the Week: 19th July 2020
Our thought this Sunday is taken from ‘The Vine’ worship material, and quotes from Tom Wright’s thought on this week’s gospel passage. For more information on Tom Wright's work click here.
Our gospel passage today is the parable of the weeds:
Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed ears, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?”
“An enemy did this,” he replied.
The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”
“No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. (Matthew 13:24-30)
The Parable is all about waiting, and waiting is what we all find difficult. The farmer waits for the harvest-time, watching in frustration as the weeds grow alongside the wheat. And that’s what God’s kingdom is like.
Jesus’ followers, of course, didn’t want to wait. If the kingdom was really present where Jesus was, coming to birth in what he was doing, then they wanted the whole thing at once. They weren’t interested in God’s timetable. They had one of their own, and expected God to conform to it.
Notice, in particular, what the servants say about the weeds. They want to go straight away into the cornfield and root out the weeds. The farmer restrains them, because life is never that simple. In their zeal to rid the field of weeds they are very likely to pull up some wheat as well.
At the heart of the parable of the weeds and the wheat is the note of patience – not just the patience of the servants who have to wait and watch, but the patience of God himself. God didn’t and doesn’t enjoy the sight of a cornfield with weeds all over the place. But nor does he relish the thought of declaring harvest-time too soon, and destroying wheat along with weeds.
Many Jews of the time spoke of God’s compassion, delaying His judgement so that more people could be saved. Jesus, followed by Paul, took the same view.
We who live after Calvary and Easter know that God did indeed act suddenly and dramatically at that moment. When today we long for God to act, to put the world to rights, we must remind ourselves that he has already done so, and that what we are now awaiting is the full outworking of those events. We wait with patience, not like people in a dark room wondering if anyone will ever come with a lighted candle, but like people in early morning who know that the sun has arisen and are now waiting for the full brightness of midday.
Father, Forgive me for all my doubts, worries and fears. Forgive me for my impatience as I wait. Forgive me for questioning the story you’ve written for me. I believe, help me in my unbelief. Help me to remember that it is good to wait for you. Grant me the joy that comes from knowing you. Amen