“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ ‘An enemy has done this while men slept!’ the farmer exclaimed. ‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest.” (Matthew 13:27-30)
The question “Where did evil come from?” has baffled spiritual and ethical leaders since people began to think and ask questions. People who read the Bible also ask this question – in this parable Jesus implies two answers.
During almost six decades as a pastor people often told me there are hypocrites in the church. They told me this as if they thought it never would have occurred to me, but it was no surprise to me and it would be no surprise to Jesus. In this parable He told us His church would be a mixed bag.
Jesus also instructed us that we are not to weed the garden because we cannot tell the difference between the two. We are to let both grow together until the harvest when He will separate the wheat from the weeds.
His two answers to that old question about where evil came from are: “an enemy has done this” and “while men slept.” Edmund Burke told us that all we have to do for evil to triumph is to do nothing. Jesus told us all we have to do is sleep.
The truly important questions raised by this parable are: “Are we wheat, or are we weeds?” What are we contributing to the harvest? Are we producing more wheat or more weeds? Are we asleep? Are we doing nothing?”
Dick Woodward, 24 January 2012