" And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn't surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they're not getting by with anything. They'll pay for it in the end." 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
A few weekends ago, I was at my in-law's place waaaay out in the country. Driving with my mother-in-law down her long driveway, she pointed out a beautiful lily growing all by itself in the middle of a weedy field. When I asked her about it's weird placement, she pointed to the other side of the driveway towards the ditch. Everything was brown, ugly, and dead. She said, "There used to be so many pretty flowers and lilies on this side of the road, too, but when we sprayed to kill the weeds, it killed all the flowers too." The contrast of both sides of the road was so stunning, and even more so when I began studying the parable of the wheat and weeds for this past Sunday's lesson.
In Matthew 13: 24-30; 36-43, Jesus tells the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds and then explains it in more detail to the disciples, later. A short summary of the parable: a farmer planted an entire crop of good seeds in a field. That night his enemy planted very similar looking weeds in the same field. When the workers noticed and asked if he wanted them to pull the weeds, he told them no. They would grow together until harvest time. He didn't want to risk pulling out the good with the bad. So when the harvest came, they pulled the weeds first and burned them. The good crop was then harvested.
Jesus explains there are two sowers: Jesus, who plants the good in the world, and Satan, who plants the bad. When the end of the world comes, all the bad will be sent to the fires of eternity, while the good will live strong in the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 11 explains how both exist in this world. Satan provides a perverted, but very appealing version of what God created as good. The weeds planted in the story look very similar to wheat, so there are times it is hard to tell the difference. Just as my children can't tell the difference between a weed and an actual flower, they pick them as presents anyway. So many people ask, "How can God allow the good to live with the bad?" Well, I believe it boils down to one thing: grace. God gives us grace to survive in a sinful world. Think about the examples in the Bible: Noah was spared over all the rest of the world. God could have easily wiped everyone off the face of the planet, but chose to extend grace to Noah, and in turn, mankind. How about Jonah? The city of Ninevah was BAD. Yup, by man's standards, they should have gone, but God provided grace for them, and they became better for it. And the list goes on.
Another quick point, the planter did not ask for the wheat to be uprooted and moved to another field completely. Not only did he not want to risk losing that crop, but he also decided to let them stay together. Are the good plants meant to influence the bad plants?
So after studying this example, the question remains: am I the wheat or am I the weed? Will I be able to grow strong in God's glory or be destroyed in the fires during the harvest? If I am a wheat, am I allow the weeds to influence me or am I influencing them? Am I gossiping? Am I thinking things that do not belong in my mind? Am I prideful? Am I selfish? Do I hate others? Am I just flat out not producing any fruit? There are so many weeds out there that look just as good as wheat, sometimes even better. How am I standing out as the right kind of plant?
Just like the lone lily in the field of weeds, I pray that I am growing strong and am a beautiful plant in the eyes of my Father.