Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Matthew 13:40-43 -- On Being the Wheat

"As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Matthew 13:40-43

All the scriptures that say things like "who hath ears to hear, let him hear" make me think that there is something important in there that we just aren't getting most of the time.  And I don't know if I get the deep message here.  But let's see what we can find.

This selection starts off referring to the parable of the wheat and the tares.  If you remember, in the parable wheat was planted, and then an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat... and you can't tell the difference until they are ripe.  And this was likened to the world... the children of God and the children of "the wicked one."

The part where the angels gather out all the things that offend, and people that do iniquity is both scary and hopeful I think.  Scary in that we never enjoy seeing anyone lost, and many will be.  And scary in thinking that we could be among them, and be lost ourselves, if we aren't following God's path.  It is also really hopeful because every day in this world that we live in we see similar tragedy... people dying and lost without hope, but perhaps worse, people harmed and dying because of the evil choices of others.  We see corruption and war and starvation and gross inequities....  And if the angels are going to get rid of some of that, and clear the way for more good, then that will make a better world.  It reminds me of the parable of the olive trees, where the evil branches are removed as the good grow... so the more good, then the less evil.  If eventually only the righteous remain, then we have a basis for learning to be Zion that is a lot closer than now.

In the end, I love the part where the righteous "shine forth as the sun."  Maybe the wheat can shine more as the tares are removed.  And maybe they just shine because they do... but it is easier to notice with less darkness. :)

Today, let's be the wheat. :)  Let's work really hard to not be one of the tares.  Let's be shiny, in the sun, and not be part of any works of darkness.  Even though the allegorical plants can't choose to change their nature... we CAN, with God's help.  Even if we think we're growing up to be a Tare, only God can make that distinction until we are fully ripe.  And he knows us better than we know ourselves.  Let's get back on track.  Let's be the good guys today, no matter what it takes.

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