Growing up, our family had a huge garden…at least it seemed huge to me at the time. My brothers and I felt like slave laborers pressed, against our will, into service as “weeders.” We spent hours sweating in rows of green beans, peas, and sweet corn. I admit, I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the garden. I needed a bit of extra instruction when it came to identifying what was to be uprooted as a weed and what was to be left alone as a vegetable. To my parents’ dismay, they lost some of the harvest all because of my inability to discriminate. It always seemed easier to distinguish the two if we waited until the vegetable plants had grown a bit. The defining leaves and fruit of the mature vegetable plant were always dead giveaways.
The challenge of distinguishing wheat from weeds is at the core of this parable. Jesus makes the meaning of the imagery clear for us. In the field of the world, there are two farmers at work: Jesus Himself (identified as the Son of Man) and Satan (identified as the devil). Both have sown seed into the world. The seed sown by Jesus results in the desired plants with their corresponding fruit. These are the Jesus followers or “sons of the kingdom.” Meanwhile, those responding to the evil one are the “weeds.”
I am sure that you know it, but believers and unbelievers exist side by side. And, sometimes, distinguishing between Jesus followers and those who are not is not always easy. Some people seem to us to have it all together, but Jesus will ultimately say “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:21-23). With others, we may be convinced of their distance from Jesus, when, in fact, they were just struggling to grow (1 Cor. 3).
One day, the harvest will come. Christ’s angels will clearly distinguish between wheat and weeds. There will be no mistaking which is which. Unbelievers will burn in torment and the redeemed will shine gloriously.
Is your identity clear today? Does the fruit of your life unmistakably identify you as a follower of Jesus?
What about others? Be careful not to pass judgment too early. This time before the end of the age allows time for others to yet respond to Jesus.