Weeds and Waves of Wheat
By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Recently while visiting my parents in Kansas, I passed by many wheat fields. Kansas is filled with wheat fields much like eastern Washington. Only difference is the flatness of Kansas.
That being said, I do admire a great-looking wheat field. As one passes by a wheat field, you can’t help but hum the song “America the Beautiful” Especially the first two lines.
O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain...
When you see the breeze rippling across a field a grain you know what they were singing about. It is a rather pretty sight.
Farmers like it when that is all you see. They work hard to prepare the fields and to make it just for wheat.
However, it is not uncommon to see something besides the amber waves of grain. Sometimes you will see a random weed growing up in the almost ripe grain.
Other times you may see several weeds in a section of the field also poking out like a sore thumb from an otherwise beautiful field of almost ripe grain. Most of the time the weeds are taller than the wheat and will be a green plant instead of the color of the wheat.
It makes you wonder why they don’t pull those weeds or get rid of them so that the field will look perfect.
However, the fields are at the stage where if you wandered out to where the weeds are, you would spoil more wheat than it is worth just to get a few weeds.
So the farmer puts up with the unsightly weeds until this massive combine comes rumbling into the field for harvest. When the combine is all done with that field the wheat is in the bin and the weeds are destroyed.
The next year the farmer will work to make sure that all the weed suppressant is distributed into the right places so that the weeds do not return.
There are also many other crops that are grown in the Midwest. Some of the crops are row crops like corn. When weeds start coming into those crops the farmer has special equipment behind their tractors that will go up and down the rows and remove the weeds. At times you may even see the farmer or their employees working in the fields to remove the weeds when it will not harm the crops.
Matthew 13 shares the parable of the wheat and the tares or weeds.
The farmer planted a good crop. But there was an enemy of the farmer who sowed weeds at night into the same field. In the course of time the wheat and the weeds both came up and it became apparent that weeds were all throughout the field.
Yet the farmer cared about his crop and he knew that at that stage it was not wise to pull the weeds because he would lose more wheat than it was worth just to rid the field of weeds. He said wait till harvest and then the weeds will be dealt with at that time (Matthew 13:24-30).
As we apply this parable to our church lives today, we must realize that there is a balance when it comes to dealing with challenges in the church. There are some that would say you should never deal with church discipline because of Matthew 13 and the admonition to let everything grow together.
Others want to jump into church discipline very quickly just like the employees of the farmer in Matthew 13 and they don’t think through the consequences of what they are wanting to do.
However, Jesus was not against church discipline. In fact, at one point he said that if anyone were to cause little ones to stumble that it would be better if a millstone were hung around their neck and cast into the water. That is some serious church discipline (Matthew 18:6).
One thing to remember is that the church is a hospital for broken people who are in pain for many different reasons. The church, made up of imperfect people like you and me, therefore is not a perfect place.
As a result, there is a need for an abundance of God’s grace and mercy for all of us and for us to show that same abundance of grace and mercy towards others.
And be careful in wanting to pull the weeds since it may do more harm than good, and we may even find out that we all have a few weeds.