TEXT: Matthew 13:24-30,36-43
TITLE: “When to Let the Weeds Grow”
THESIS: Live with love alongside people in this world.
- Don’t judge! – That’s it. My whole sermon. 😊 Well, maybe not.
- In last week’s parable about the four kinds of soil, “the seed” was the message of the kingdom. In today’s parable the seed is the people of the kingdom. – Last week, our challenge was to do the work of preparing and tending the soil – and pulling out the weeds – so the kingdom of God could grow within and through us and we would continue to do God’s will in this world.
- This week, however, our challenge is different because the context is different. WE are the seed – the people of the kingdom, planted by Jesus in this world to produce “a harvest of righteousness.”
- “The field” is the world itself, and we are to grow alongside people who are not of the kingdom – people of evil, people whose way of life is the opposite of doing God’s will.
- What’s strange is that in the parable, the servants are told NOT to pull up the weeds lest they pull up the wheat. Perhaps because they cannot tell them apart, or perhaps because their roots are intertwined. – Either way, I hear Jesus echoing his words: “Do not judge,” in saying, “Let them grow together.”
- In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7, Jesus says not to judge someone else until we have taken the log out of our own eye so we can see clearly the speck of dust in someone else’s eye. – Isn’t that much the same as “let them grow together” so you don’t destroy the wheat while pulling up the weeds?
- I do think Jesus suggests that if we are able to remove what is blinding us from our lives, we can then see more clearly to help others with what may be blinding them. – But it’s not easy.
- Have you noticed that people tend to see the faults of other people when they share those same faults? – Gossip, pride, a critical spirit, anger?
- Or in another way, people tend to focus on faults – or sins – they don’t have (or don’t think they have or don’t admit to) and loudly condemn them. – In the Church, historically, this has often led to condemnation of “sins of the flesh,” – most of them having to do with sexuality. And this remains the situation with far too many Christians today.
- As Joy often says, “There is a reason for what people do – not an excuse, but a reason – and if we don’t understand it, we don’t know enough of their story.”
- Do we just ignore what people do if we truly believe it is wrong? If we are not to judge – and if we are to let people live together – do we “turn a blind eye” to it all? If not, what can we do?
- Love them.
- Listen to their stories.
- Let them be true to their best selves.
- Lead them to imagine a different way / a “better” way.
- Live alongside them.
- Jesus’ message of God’s kingdom is for this world, and the people of God’s kingdom are to live in this world to make a difference. We are not here to judge or to condemn, but to love and heal and transform. We are to live in this world as people who do God’s will. Such people will “stand against” evil while “standing with” people sometimes controlled by evil. That’s what people of the kingdom do.
- So having preached the rest of the sermon now, I say again with Jesus: “Don’t judge!” – Just be people of the kingdom – people who live in this world with hope and love for transformation in our world.