Tag Archives: Discipline

Don’t Whack the Weeds

But he said, ‘No, since in gathering the weeds you may uproot the wheat with them.’ (Matthew 13:29 NET)

Each time I read through Scripture I’m amazed at what God brings to my attention. Things which I’ve read many times will sometimes jump out like they’ve never been there before. I had that experience the other evening while reading through Matthew. I read the parable of the wheat and the weeds like I have many times before. I stopped to ask myself, “What was Jesus telling us in this short tale?” The funny thing is Jesus gives an explanation.

The more I thought about it the more I realized I couldn’t remember a single sermon I’d heard on this parable. I’m sure it was mentioned somewhere but apparently not noteworthy enough for me to remember. Often this is tied in with sending more workers into the fields but I see here an accurate description of the world, including the church and dealing with the evil which invades.

For some reason, Christians feel they need to cast their eyes across the world looking for weeds. We think these insidious plants, when found, need to be either converted into proper wheat or culturally eradicated by insuring they behave and look like wheat. Granted these damaging weeds are taking up some of the nutrients, water, and soil space that could otherwise be used by the wheat. It makes sense to us to remove the items which hinder proper growth of the wheat. But Jesus has a different approach in mind.
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Instead of weeding out the invaders Jesus says leave them where they are. Allow them to receive the same fertilizer, water, and care as the remainder of the wheat field. Now why would we leave them there? The Lord makes it clear that their removal would cause damage to the faithful wheat in the process of eradication. Apparently, we’re not very good as farmers in this process. It’s only when they’re harvested together that they can be properly separated without damage. So, the separation of the faithful and unbeliever is left to the final harvest by the reapers (angels). Only then will the true wheat shine in God’s kingdom.

I think of the damage done to the body of Christ by overzealous believers who take their understanding of God’s righteousness and attempt to forcefully weed out the evil in the world. They’re trying to pull up the weeds while their roots are still intertwined with the believer’s. I’m not discounting our call to exercise proper discipline within the church as Paul expressed to the Corinthians. After his call to expel the sinner from their midst he writes back and tempers his harsh commands in order that they show forgiveness and care so they do not cause excessive sorrow.

I also understand the admonition not to associate with those known for their flagrant sinful behavior within the church. But weeding goes directly to the destruction of the sinner and indirectly to the detriment of the faithful as our roots are intertwined. One cannot be ripped from the ground without damaging the other. Sinners are as common in a sinful world as weeds are in the wheat field. Regardless of what we try to tell ourselves we’re intertwined in a way that cannot be undone until the final harvest.

As tenders of the field we need to insure the nutrients of God’s grace, love and care are sowed throughout the field regardless of the plant. I’m convinced God won’t run out of fertilizer this side of eternity. Then we can allow God’s angels to harvest the field and separate the good from the bad. They know how to do this without irreparable damage to the plant, apparently, something we don’t do very well. We need to stop whacking at the weeds and aerate the soil with God’s grace and love. As missionaries and pastors this is our calling. Cultivate the field. The harvest we leave up to the one who knows how to save the good and toss out the bad, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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Flying Chick Boy

But those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 WEB)

When we moved into our first Guam home I saw the opportunity to improve my Amateur Radio station by attaching a tower to the back of our concrete home. This also provided ready access to the roof. This is important on a tropical island. Annually you need to clean the roof and paint it white. That’ll reduce the inside temperature several degrees on a clear day. A few stakes in the ground, a couple clamps on the roof, and everything was safe and secure. Joel was very observant while I was installing the radio tower.

A day or two later Joel, and his friend were playing in the yard. Beth and I had a simple rule for disciple when the children were young. If we tell them not to do something after the first occurrence then there is no more excuse for disobedience. The problem with this mode of instruction was insuring all bases were covered, before something terrible happens. It’s amazing how many little things in life you don’t remember when trying to set out the ground rules.

One day Beth was sitting and reading in the living room. She heard a thud, thud, thud resound through the concrete walls then silence. A few minutes later she heard the same series of thuds. At first she thought it was the washer shaking the house until she realized concrete houses usually doesn’t shake.  During earthquakes they shake but this wasn’t an earthquake.

Glancing out the dining room window she heard the same thud, thud, thud and then witnessed two very young boys (about three years of age) flying off the roof to land in the yard. They looked at each other then smiled with obvious glee and rushed toward the back of the house and the very convenient radio tower.

Across the roof they ran with capes made from blankets flying from their backs. In their enthusiasm they leaped again only to find Beth waiting like a policeman at the end of their flight.  I wonder if Superman ever met his mother after jumping from a tall building.  Beth wasn’t happy.

A new rule was quickly laid down before someone was hurt in their imaginative use of available materials and access. They were disappointed with the new rule but glad they weren’t sitting on hot, sore bottoms at dinner time.

A few years later we visited with folks we met from the Naval Air Station. They were the proud and harried parents of a couple energetic and imaginative boys as well. While we enjoyed conversation and fellowship they pulled an old parachute from the closet.

Their children would use the material in a number of ways including building forts, tossing things in the air, etc., to entertain themselves. As they handed the parachute to James his eyes lit up with glee and expectation. Along with Ellice and Joel they went out the door with James clutching the parachute to his chest.

As a quick last minute reminder Beth shouted to them, “No jumping off the roof with the parachute!” James turned to look at us and was crest fallen as he slumped out the door to play.

Our friends turned to us and said, “We never thought of that. Why would you think of that?”

Beth calmly replied, “We know our son. Given the chance he would jump off the tallest building with a napkin if he thought he could float to the ground.”

Just like our boys, we tend to know God’s rules but ignore them until we hear a thundering voice of correction. Common sense to do some things and not others is a gift from God. As Calvin, a cartoon character, once said, “I have lots of commons sense. I just choose to ignore it.” Let’s listen as God prompts us, from our hearts, to live in obedience, before the hand of correction falls.

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