These last number of weeks we have seen some unseasonably warm weather for early Autumn.
One of the drawbacks of the milder weather is that as well as the grass keeping a good colour, and growing to a good length, weeds have also been popping up. Weeds are one of the greatest enemies of the garden, because they rob the soil of the nutrients that help plants, and crops to grow.
There are, of course, different ways of dealing with weeds. You could take a hoe and chop them down, but if you do that you could also end up chopping the good plants by accident. Or you could use weed killer. But the biggest problem with weed killer is that it does not know a thistle from a tomato plant. Sometimes it is best just to leave the weeds alone, at least that's sometimes what farmers do, until it is time to harvest the crop. Then you can separate the weeds from the good plants.
Jesus told a story that compared the world to a field. The owner of the field sowed good seed in it. While his workers slept, an enemy came along and sowed bad seed. But the owner advised against uprooting the tares, saying, "Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, Ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest...".
This parable has some vital spiritual lessons. First, the good seed represents the people of God, those who have been thoroughly converted, and who will, by the grace of God, grow to true spiritual maturity. They are made like Christ, who described Himself as a corn of wheat that falls into the ground.
Second, the bad seed represents the "children of the wicked one". Sometimes it is hard to tell the good seed and the bad seed apart, and it is only after a long time that the counterfeit is discerned. The tares, while growing, look like wheat, but when full grown the ears are long and the grains almost black.
The day will come when those who use the right language, practice attendance at the house of God, pray, sit at the Lord's Table, are baptised, who go through all the motions of religion, but whose Christianity is mere form, will be discerned.
Third, Jesus tells us the destiny of the tares. The tares are gathered in bundles and cast into the fire. Matthew Henry Comments; "Hell is a furnace of fire, kindled by the wrath of God and the tares cast into it will be ever in the consuming, but never consumed. Sinners of the same sort will be bundled together in the great day: a bundle of atheists, a bundle of epicures, a bundle of persecutors, a bundle of hypocrites. Those who have been associates in sin, will be so in shame and sorrow: and it will be an aggravation of their misery, just as the society of glorified saints will add to the bliss of the saved. Let us pray as David, "Lord, gather not my soul with sinners (Ps. 26:9), but let us be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord our God," (1 Samuel 25:29).