Step #1: Lectio / Read
Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
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;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
When Jesus told parables, He often used something from His surroundings. So there's a chance that when He told this parable, they were standing next to a wheat field. Apparently this parable describes a common problem for wheat farmers of that day (and even still today). There is a type of weed called a darnel or tare, which looks an awful lot like wheat when both are in the earlier stages of their growth.
You can see why it would be hard to tell them apart. Later on in their growth it becomes more obvious, but by that time their roots are too intertwined to safely remove the tares. Jesus' audience may have seen Him gesturing to the wheat and weeds growing beside them as He told this parable. Many of them may have nodded their heads in understanding because they too have experienced this problem before.
We can learn a lot from this parable about the Kingdom of God (see Matthew 13:36-43 for Jesus' explanation). Today let's focus on the householder in this parable -- God. The householder was very clear with his slaves that they should not try to remove the weeds because he knew they couldn't tell them apart from the wheat. He didn't want them to inadvertently hurt the wheat.
The Lord is clear with us that only He knows the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9-10). There are those of us who accept His love and mercy... and those of us who reject it. But only He truly knows.
When I was in college, I remember going to the cafeteria one day and being approached by a couple of people from a nearby Protestant church. They immediately asked me, "Do you know Jesus?" I thought to myself, "I do know Jesus... but you don't even know my name! Why would you presume to know the state of my eternal salvation?" Our hearts and our eternal salvation are not so black-and-white. It's messy. It's wheat growing with weeds. Even the saints were sinners, too.
When you encounter people throughout your day -- especially as you try to be Jesus to them -- remember that only the Lord knows their heart. Don't make a judgment on the state of their heart or their eternal salvation. That's God's job and only He knows how to do it. Our job is to love them and to walk with them to Jesus.
Let the weeds grow with the wheat. He'll sort it all out in the end.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
"I, the LORD, explore the mind and test the heart" (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
Have you recently been too judgmental with someone? Reflect on that interaction or conversation.
Ask for the Lord's mercy and help to love more unconditionally.
Pray for all those in the world who have rejected God's mercy and love. Pray that they would one day accept His offer of eternal salvation.
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"Lord, only You know my heart."
"Jesus, help me to love like You."
For the Rest of Your Day...
If you find yourself making a snap-judgment about someone, stop yourself and offer a prayer for them instead.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Dan Wolff.
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