Sermon for Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43   -   It's Time to Pull the Weeds
Proper 11

In Saint Louis an unemployed cleaning woman noticed a few bees buzzing around the attic of her home. Since there were only a few, she made no effort to deal with them. Over the summer the bees continued to fly in and out the attic vent while the woman remained unconcerned, unaware of the growing city of bees that was taking up residence just above her ceiling.

The whole attic became a hive, and the ceiling of the second-floor bedroom finally caved in under the weight of hundreds of pounds of honey and thousands of angry bees. While the woman escaped serious injury, she was unable to repair the damage of her accumulated neglect.

That's a parable about many people's lives, is it not? We let things go. We put off dealing with them. We ignore that which is disturbing, yet inconvenient--until it is too late. And our ceiling comes crashing in.

Neglect. What a powerful word. It describes many family relationships. Neglect. Spouses neglected. Children neglected. Later, older parents neglected. Responsibilities neglected. Opportunities neglected. It is a specter that haunts all of life. Neglect. Ever seen a neighborhood that's neglected? How about a home? A garden?

Neglect. Broken Windows. Weeds growing in the garden. Jesus told a parable about a man who sowed good seed in his field. But, in the night while he was sleeping, someone with a grudge against him came and sowed weeds among the wheat. 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 pull 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 the 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.'"

We're told that in Syria and Palestine there is a weed known as the bearded darnel which grows plentifully. Here's the problem with this weed: it bears an uncanny resemblance to wheat--until the head appears on the plant. Only then is the difference easily discerned. The weed appears to be wheat--even an experienced farmer could not tell the difference--until the time comes for it to produce fruit. Only then is its true nature revealed. To have attempted to weed it out sooner would have been impossible, and attempting to do so would have destroyed valuable grains. (3)

Weeds and wheat. Kind of a scary parable, if you think about it. It's easy to talk about God's grace--God's loving acceptance of the unworthy. But we are left with these harsher teachings of our Master. Some people are like wheat; some are like weeds. Wheat goes in the barn; weeds go in the furnace. I don't know about you, but I want to be wheat. I don't want to end up in the furnace with the weeds. You can do with this parable what you will.
1. Fighting the Weeds in Our Own Life.
2. Fighting the Weeds in Our Relationships.
3. Fighting the Weeds in Our Relationship with God.

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