The Good and the Bad by Ronald H. Matthews

The Good and The Bad
Rev. Ronald H. Matthews
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
7/18/99

I enjoy gardening. Thanks to Ben Clark and Tom Brown, last week was a refresher lesson. Ben and Tom's garden does have a few weeds, but mostly it has wonderful fresh vegetables. I got to pick and shuck corn and feed the shucks to the cows. I even enjoy thinking and talking about gardening. There's something about thumbing through the flower and seed catalogs, while dreaming of growing something half as beautiful as the photos they show. Alas, 1201 Melvin Avenue has too much shade for a serious vegetable garden. If you are a gardener, you know how hard it is to control weeds. Especially with all the recent rain. Turn your back for a few days and the crabgrass is crowding out your beans!

The people Jesus was talking to knew all about raising crops, in fact, their lives depended on it. They lived close to the land and they certainly understood this parable. It is obvious that Jesus knew a thing or two about farming. It is true that tares (young bearded darnel) looks very much like wheat when in the young stage of growth. And, if you don't weed the crop early, the wheat and tares will soon intertwine so that separating the two before harvest is next to impossible. After the wheat and the darnel had been harvested, the women would sift the seeds manually picking out all the darnel seeds. The darnel seeds are slate gray in color and easily distinguished at this stage. Jesus knew about weeds. His listeners knew about weeds. You and I know about weeds.

However, our Lord wasn't providing a lesson in agriculture on how to be better farmers. He was using this common experience to illustrate a parable about the Kingdom of God and the final judgment. In this parable we see the reality of life. It is as it has always been a mixture of good and bad.

In a Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown is confronted by Lucy, his nemesis, who says, "Charlie Brown, you are crabgrass in the lawn of life." ...


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