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Tares Among the Wheat

Green Wheat Fields With Cyprus – Vincent Van Gogh (1890)

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (Matthew 13:25)

Before I cranked up the lawnmower Saturday morning, I noticed that some bad grass had come up in my backyard, and it was going to seed. As much as I dreaded that task, I knew I would have to pull it all up by hand otherwise I would risk scattering bad seed all over my yard and making matters worse. Through the pain of my aching back, I recalled Jesus’ “Kingdom Parable” about the tares among wheat found in Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43.

In this parable, Jesus likens Himself to the landowner who sowed good seed into His field – i.e., the world (vv. 24, 37-38). The “good seed” which He sowed are the children of the Kingdom – i.e., true believers in Christ (vv. 24, 38). “But while men slept” … Jesus defined all the players in the parable except for these. Who are these men who fell asleep on the job? Since there is no special definition for these men, it seems that these “men” are the “good seed” that was planted in the field. These did what good seed is supposed to do: receive nourishment, grow and produce fruit. But in doing what good seed is supposed to do, it took no notice of the enemy (Satan) that came in and sowed tare seeds into the field (vv. 25, 39). These too grew up together with the wheat and were indistinguishable from the wheat. As the time of harvest approached, the distinction became obvious, and the harvesters (the angels) wanted to rip up the tares (v. 28), but the landowner, not wanting to upset the good wheat, instructed that both be allowed to grow together until the harvest (vv. 29-30).

There are tares among us. They dress Christian. They speak Christian. They, by almost any means, look Christian, but they “are the children of the wicked one” (v. 38). Perhaps “outsiders” can spot them easier than those on the “inside.” Perhaps that is why many want nothing to do with the church because, they say, “The church is full of hypocrites!” No, the church is full of tares! Jesus says, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (v. 30).

So, what are we to do about all of this? A good self-examination would be a good place to begin. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). Don’t act like tares. Peter reminds us that this present world is going up in smoke, and he exhorts us: “Seeing then thatall these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:11-13, emphasis added). Yes, there are tares among the wheat. Don’t be a tare!

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