For any one who has attempted to have a decent garden, they know there is much work involved. From preparing the soil, to digging rows in which to plant, to the actual sowing of seeds, it seems the work is never done. And this is only the beginning. There is then the constant attention a well-tended garden requires, including adding fertilizer to feed the new crops, the plucking of stubborn weeds, and then in the case of a vegetable garden, the time comes for finally harvesting the fruits of our labors. With all this work, one might ask why do this—when often the results are less than perfect, if the garden bears fruit at all. But I believe the beauty of having a garden is not the end product, but the process of creating and cultivating a precious, living thing.
Having recently experienced the laborious process of having a garden, one which includes flowers and vegetables, I can attest to the fact that it does require a lot of work. Even the small one of mine, has been a trial and error process, resulting in lessons learned. As I battle random weeds and pesky pests, I often am surprised at what actually sprouts up out of the earth. Where once was dead grass, and rocky soil, now grows beautiful lilies and bulging tomato plants. I am also surprised by the random plant which sprouts, and when I let grow instead of plucking it like the weed I assume it is, grows in to a beautiful yellow flower. Had I pulled this dear plant from my garden, I never would have known the beauty of this gift from Mother Nature.
I imagine this is the reason for the following parable in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
“He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”
So we ask ourselves, why allow weeds (or in the case of the previous passage “children of the evil one”) to even sprout up at all? I believe our Father has another message here, which goes beyond describing the “kingdom of heaven”, and detailing the difference between weeds and wheat, (or good and bad seed). If you will notice, the Son of Man is advised to wait until harvest time to collect the weeds to be burned, and then the wheat is cultivated, thus the “righteous will shine like sun”. So why wait? Why not pluck out the offending weed as soon as it sprouts? Maybe this is to allow the bad seed or weed, a chance to grow in to something good, something beautiful. Just as in the case of the random green shoot which sprouted unexpectedly in my garden, maybe our dear Father is giving all things, the good and bad seed, a chance to grow in to something precious, good, beautiful. To grow in to something worth cultivating at harvest time, to become righteous and pleasing to our Lord.
This particular parable really struck home with me. Often I lament the fact that I feel more like a weed most days, than the precious wheat. Not because I feel evil, but because some days I feel I am unworthy to be welcomed in to “the kingdom of their Father”. But if God cautions us to be patient, and He allows weeds to grow amongst the wheat. Is He not then sending the message that with patience, and loving care, as with a garden, all things have the potential to be good, and beautiful?!