The Parable Of The Weeds (Tares)
Jesus had told a parable of a farmer who sowed good seed in his field, but an enemy came and sowed weeds (tares) among the wheat. The farmer’s servants ask about rooting out the weeds, but the farmer says to let them alone for now…
Matthew 13:29-30 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ‘
Later, the disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable. The Lord began His explanation this way:
Matthew 13:37-38 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.”
There’s lots to ponder in this answer!
First, Jesus says He is sowing the “sons of the kingdom” into the world. That is who Christians are. We are not just people, like everyone else in the world except that we happen to follow a particular religion. No, our first and primary identification is with the kingdom of God. That’s why we should not be too at home in the world we now live in.
According to Hebrews 11:13, we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” That means we should not always feel at home in our environment. In fact, as our society moves in an ever more godless direction, Christians should expect to be out of step with our culture. If we find ourselves fitting seamlessly into this world, that probably means we have not given sufficient focus to who we really are: sons of the kingdom of God.
Second, we are Christ’s seed sown into the world; and the purpose of seed is to produce a crop! In order for a seed of wheat to fulfill the purpose for which it was sown, there are two things it must do:
(1) It must grow strong and sturdy itself.
There is an inescapable law of planted seed – grow or die. Whenever a seed is planted into an appropriate environment (fertile ground, sun, water, etc.) but doesn’t grow, it indicates that seed is dead. It’s the same way with a person who claims to be in Christ, but they never exhibit any spiritual growth. There should at least be some serious questioning of whether that particular seed really is spiritually alive.
(2) It must reproduce.
It’s not enough for a wheat seed to simply grow into a great stalk of wheat – while necessary, that alone doesn’t fulfill its purpose. It achieves the goal for which it was planted only when it is fruitful, producing more seeds like itself that will result in more wheat. In other words, we are supposed to multiply!
John 15:8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Christians cannot just focus on living godly lives for themselves. Each of us needs to be deliberately and actively involved in the expansion of God’s kingdom. That certainly doesn’t mean every one must be an evangelist or a preacher or a teacher – each of us should serve according to the particular spiritual gifts God has given us. But each of us has a part to perform in growing the kingdom:
Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Third, Jesus said the seed He is sowing is “good seed.” First of all, “good” in this context means “effective for the purpose.” In other words, if we’ll just be who Christ calls us to be, we have everything we need in Him to get the job done.
But there is a second aspect of us being “good seed” that I believe is of crucial importance to believers today.
This is something that Christians will increasingly need to hear as our culture moves further and further away from a godly outlook. We are good seed! Christians are already finding that if they stand up for godly values in the public square, they will be labeled as haters and bigots and worse.
The Christian Post has an article on a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training module that employed the following chart:
According to this training module, which has now been withdrawn, evangelical Christians are at the top of the chart as a breeding ground for religious extremism.
So, it’s good to know that in the sight of the only One who really matters, Christians are good seed – and His purpose is that we will continue to reproduce after our kind!