by Linda Ryan
I’m amazed that living so close to Phoenix, one of the country’s major cities, we have such a range of agricultural areas around us. We have cotton, millet, corn, alfalfa and various other crops . It’s interesting to watch them grow and see the greenness of the fields which make such a change from the brown of the desert. Most of the time the fields look perfect but occasionally there will be something that looks out of place, something green but a different shape or perhaps towering over the growing crops. Those are weeds, and weeds are no respecter of persons. Ask anyone with a lawn.
I’ve heard weeds described as simply plants and flowers growing in the wrong place. Granted, dandelions are such pretty yellow flowers and, for children, the seed heads are so inviting They pluck them from the plant and blow on the globe, sending the fairy-like seeds to propagate somewhere else. There are lots of beautiful weeds, but they are still weeds, especially if they’re not in a place where they wanted.
Jesus knew about weeds. I think it’s a surprise to me that he would understand them. I doubt seriously that he had done very much in terms of gardening or growing food, but then there a lot of years that Jesus lived that we don’t know anything about. At any rate, he tells the story, the parable, about the kingdom of heaven being like a crop field. That is the whole word right there — like. This tells us he’s creating a simile, a familiar object or scenario that has a deeper meaning to it.
He spoke of sowing good seeds but then having enemies sneak in and spread seeds like dandelion fluff, while everyone else was asleep. The plants grew and so did the weeds. The servants were puzzled when they asked the master, “Should we pull these up?” The master told them to just leave them for now. So why not pull them up? The unwanted plants were right there taking nourishment and water from the main crop. But the master had some insight that the servants hadn’t thought of: if they pulled up the weeds, the chances were they would pull up some of the good plants as well, or damage their roots and cause them to die. The master decided that it would be best to just let the weeds grow and then, at harvest time, the separations would be done.
In these past few weeks we have seen people make judgments as to who is what. We have felt grief and sadness over the number of shooting deaths of good people and we wonder what has to be done to make the world safe for our children and our grandchildren. We read about #BlackLivesMatter, and #BlueLivesMatter, even #AllLivesMatter. Are we excused the from listening to others because we are of another race or another occupation or another persuasion?. We need to listen to each other with open minds–and hearts, not adamant adherence to what we already know, or think we know.
There are times we have to make that decision, but it should be made judiciously and mercifully. Sometimes the decision is made in five seconds or less–an awfully short time that can make the difference between life and death.
It’s time for us to stop worrying about the harvest and get on with the process of living and growing, even if we share a row or a field with weeds. To be honest, we might be the weeds ourselves. Let’s not be complacent. Let’s not think more highly of ourselves than we do our neighbors. Let God take care of gathering in the crop.
Image: Credit: (top right) Dandelion – By Angel caboodle at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,