Leave the weeds.

His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest

My mom had a great bookshelf in her room. I used to sit in front of that bookshelf just pondering the titles – classics of literature, a book on the adopted family, and a set of books in a series about homes and gardens. These books had to date from the late 1950s or early 1960s. I can imagine my parents amassing this encyclopedia of home and garden just after they purchased their house.

These books were beautifully illustrated. They had architectural drawings, garden layouts, and idealized drawings and photos of beautifully manicured and cultured lawns and gardens. I wanted that! I would look out the windows of our home, holding the books, and imagined creating that look in our small back yard; its existing look not perfect enough. Oh, and there were weeds. Weeds were the enemy of perfection.

You can imagine my surprise on one of those idyllic summer Sundays as Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds was read. We had to leave the weeds. My little structured world of perfect lawns and raised flower beds had to take a back seat to Jesus’ command. Some in our congregation live this today. They allow nature to take its course, not disturbing the wheat or the weeds. I think they understand better than I did.

In its essence, Jesus’ parable is about conflict and destruction. The Jewish people would have understood that enemies sowed choking weeds in crops, a war tactic aimed at destruction. Jesus likened the sowing of weeds to the work of the enemy, Satan, who in all respects seeks to destroy us. The slaves, we who follow Jesus, have an initial reaction to destruction that itself focuses on destruction. Let’s go out and destroy the weeds. Abigail Van Buren once said, “People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes.” Destruction of the weeds only leads to the destruction of the good. The result of the sinful tendency in us is our giving in to destruction.

As Jesus’ people, we are called to plant, nurture, feed, grow, and also bear the weeds. We are not called to the position of harvester. That is Jesus’ job. By our action, perhaps in the weeds, we will find a new crop for the Lord. We will give all the chance and opportunity to grow. In the midst of conflict we are to reject destruction and leaven the world for growth.

Growing the
community and the world.

He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

Jesus’ radical call to us is to be something totally different, to rise above our worldly ways to become like Him so we can grow the world.

When we think about the what this call means, the depth of it, the power of it, we can be taken a little aback. How can I possibly be like Jesus? How can I get beyond my ‘feelings,’ my angers, disputes, grudges, opinions and take up Jesus’ opinion and way? Can I grow the world?

This season of growth, as we have discussed over the past several weeks, is all about getting beyond and over ourselves to become ourselves. Seems strange to say – but to become ourselves is to fulfill what God has designed us to be, is to reach for becoming God like and then to be that yeast. The few Christians in our community – that’s us and our brothers and sisters from many traditions – can grow and develop our community and the entire world. Be its leaven.

The Book of Wisdom points out the aspects of God we have within us and that we need to grow into so that our community may grow. What a wonderful prospect that we have such dignity and heavenly love – grace pointed toward us, that we have the ability to become ‘all that.’ By becoming all that God has designed us to be, the world around us is given the chance to become all that God wants it to be.

Wisdom tells us God’s mastery over all things makes Him lenient to all. What a radical call – to be lenient to all. Not to take up grudges or be judgmental, but to be merciful, clement, forgiving, forbearing, tolerant, charitable, easygoing, magnanimous, sympathetic, compassionate, and mild. If we are so, then we leaven the community to also be lenient.

Being the yeast for our community calls us to be bold. God knows that we can be. He knows the power He has paced in us. Because of that, Wisdom tells us that God rebuke[s] temerity. Unless we toss our leaven into the community nothing will happen. If we stop our leaven at the door of the church, act differently at meetings, work, on the road, online, or at home then God will rebuke us, He will correct, reprimand, admonish, reprove, chastise, and censure us – not something one would ever want. If we are truly bold in God, then the community can be bold in Him.

God has fixed His gaze on us, His people, in a particular way. The Holy Spirit is with us coming to the aid of our weakness; interceding for us, His holy ones so we can bold, lenient leaven.

We have the power, ability, and love to grow and become like Jesus – lenient and bold – growing our community and the whole world.