|Theme:||Parable of the weeds. Proper 11 (16) Yr. A|
|Object:||A hoe and some weed killer.|
|Scripture:||"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil." Matthew 13:40-41 (NIV)|
I have weeds in my garden. I made sure that I planted my garden in good soil, and yet, I still have weeds. As you probably know, one of the biggest enemies of a good garden is weeds. Weeds will rob the soil of the nutrients that help your plants to grow and many times they will choke out good plants. What can you do? Well, you could take a hoe and chop down the weeds, but if you do that, you will probably chop down some of the good plants by accident.
Another way to get rid of the weeds is to buy some weed killer. This stuff will really kill the weeds. The biggest problem with weed killer is that it doesn't know a tumble weed from a tomato plant. It kills every plant that it touches. Sometimes, it is best just to leave the weeds alone until it is time to harvest the crop. Then you can separate the weeds from the good plants.
One time Jesus told a story that compared his church to a garden that was infested with weeds. Sometimes there may be people in the church that don't really belong. They do things that aren't very loving and they don't seem to believe what the Bible teaches. They sometimes say hateful things about the other members of the church and try to hurt them. They are like weeds in a garden.
We have to be very careful about trying to remove those people from the church. In his story, Jesus said that we shouldn't worry about pulling up the weeds that grow around us. If we do, we may do more harm than good. He suggests that we leave the weeds for God to take care of - and concentrate on doing what he wants us to do - which is producing good fruit.
Whenever you see someone in the church that you don't think should be there, before you grab your hoe or your weed killer, remember the advice of Jesus. Just leave it up to God to separate the weeds from the good plants. If we try to take matters into our own hands, we will probably do more harm than good.
Dear Father, help us to love one another and leave the matter of judgment in your hands. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Adapted from a sermon by Richard E. Fairchild
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