The Wheat and the Tares (Weeds)

1435497_42016849_Wheat-Field_96One ancient Proverb puts it this way, “There is a way which seems right to a man but in the end leads to destruction.”

After studying the parables of Jesus both as laity, then as a seminary student and now several years removed from those days, I have noticed that what is needed for today’s society is a set of passages that is easy to read. Therefore, I have departed this one time from our teams agreed upon translation of ESV and have chosen the NIV.

The NIV was originally written at a 6th grade reading level when compiled in 1973, by a team of 120 professors, theologians, linguists and philosophers. It is a reliable version but not the most accurate. The ESV is slightly more accurate, was compiled approximately 20 years earlier and is written at a 10th grade reading level.

I have also learned a few more things about parables that I will be sharing with you today. They carry one primary message. Those who attribute prophecies and multiple meanings to them miss the original purpose of the parable and any parable spoken by Jesus. For this entry, the Parable of The Wheat and the Tares (Weeds) carry the primary message that a day is coming when those who are called the “sons of the kingdom” are separated from the “sons of the evil one.” Granted most pastors spend an inordinate amount of time trying to identify the difference between the WHEAT (sons of the kingdom) and the Tares or Weeds (sons of the evil one) but we need not do so.

Another unique thing I have learned about parables is they are often explained by Jesus just a few short verses later. Herein is the case with the Wheat and the Tares: they are first mentioned in Matthew 13:24-30 and then the Disciples of Jesus ask for clarification of the meaning of the parable in Matthew 13:36-43.

Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?” “An enemy did this,” he replied. The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pulled them up?” “No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ – Matthew 13:24-30

If all we had were this section of scripture and the authority of the Word of God we would debate every jot and tittle of these verses like connoisseurs taking in an art show of a world famous artist. Thankfully, Jesus gives us all a very clear explanation which should silence those who misrepresent or use the Bible for personal gain.

854201-wheat-harvest-in-israelThen he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who ears, let him hear.’ – Matthew 13:36-43

Perhaps the biggest and final lesson I have learned about parables is they give a reflection of what the kingdom of heaven will be like. Each of Jesus’s parables start out this way with the phrase, “The kingdom of heaven is like.” As sons and daughters of the kingdom, we must realize in our time on this earth that we can no more remove the weeds than we can remove the evil one. However, we can live like children of the kingdom, like wheat. To the untrained eye wheat and tares (weeds) look a lot alike but to those who understand the process of reaping a field like a farmer, the differences are obvious. We have forgotten that we are not here to be different and recognizable for or by others. We are here to be different and recognizable to the God of the harvest.

Simply put we as sons and daughters of the kingdom need to live, grow, be salt and light, work, play, worship, love, forgive, pray, fight the good fight, share the Good News of salvation and be real for God alone! Somehow, it has been lost on us that God is the audience. I am not here as a son of the kingdom to live, grow, be salt and light, work, play, worship, love, forgive, pray, fight the good fight, share the Good News of salvation and be real for ME!

Prayerfully, as you read with simplicity the petition of this parable, the Holy Spirit began to speak to you in ways you have never noticed before. Maybe you have noticed that it is more than a little possible that you have been placing an inordinate amount of time focused on the wrong audience. This too is simple in its deception and is one of the number one things we over look both privately and collectively. Imagine if every church in the world worshipped and gathered together as if God were the only audience that mattered? The second and third order effects of such an application could mean worldwide revival. Now imagine if it all started with you willfully changing to THE only audience that matters. GOD ALONE!

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.