by Christopher Harbin

Dealing with Weeds
Christopher B. Harbin
Gen 28:10-19a; Is 44:6-8; Mat 13:24-30, 36-43; Rom 8:12-25

Weeds are a problem, especially in my garden. About six weeks ago, I had them all cleared out. Now you can hardly find the vegetables in the lot for the weeds. I need to get out there with hoe and shovel and spend a few hours getting rid of these plants that choke out the ones I am interested in cultivating. That is our normal reaction to the various problems in life. We view them as enemies to destroy, obstacles to be removed from our paths. In today's parable, Jesus presents us with a very different picture of dealing with weeds: leave them be and be productive. While he speaks of God's response to our unfruitfulness, is there some way to appropriately apply the story to our own lives?

Jacob was surprised by God. Isn't that how it normally goes? There he was, minding his own business, just trying to get some much needed rest. He was tired enough to be using a rock for a pillow. He thought he was fleeing to protect his life, as well as to find a wife among his own people. He had no real expectations that God was anywhere nearby. He had no sense of God's protection and direction. He was just traveling along his journey, oblivious to God's presence and concern. With sleep, he was surprised by a dream.

Jacob was a crafty man. He was a diligent worker. He was a schemer. He was self-reliant, following his mother's directions to help him take advantage of people and the life situations that faced him. He did not openly depend on God. He was more of the frontiersman of our American heritage: the rugged individualist, self-reliant in all things. God did not really factor in to his life, actions, and dreams--at least not his waking dreams. On that rock pillow, however, God surprised him.

The people of the Ancient Near East viewed dreams as the most common way that God communicated with people. Kings like Solomon later on would offer moun ...

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