I love object lessons. I mean, I learn so much more when I see something real and tangible. I think most of us are like that. Perhaps that’s why Jesus seems to have pointing out things along his path and used them to teach his followers. Perhaps that’s why he would do something and tell others to follow his example.
Josh at “Called to Rebuild” talks about just this sort of object lesson in his post “What my job teaches me about the wheat and the tares.”
First, Josh tells us that he’s a landscaper, so he’s very familiar with both “wheat” and “tares.” In his story, flowers are the “wheat,” and weeds are the “tares.”
Josh has a some things to say about Jesus’ parable. For example, “the field” is not the church regardless of how many people use this parable in that way. Also, he reminds us that removing the “tares” was to be left up to the Lord, not to overzealous gardeners. (This reminds of Jude’s letter, and what he told his readers to do about all of those false teachers that he warned them about – see Jude 1:20-23.)
But, I really wanted to point out this part of Josh’s post:
Today while cleaning out that customer’s bed I accidentally pulled up a lily along with the weed I was trying to rid her landscape of. This is a very real possibility when pastors, teachers, and otherwise well-intentioned leaders try to do the Lord’s work of dividing the tares from the wheat. We’re just not very good at it. I’ve yet to meet the minister who constantly harps upon false teaching, watching out for wolves, etc., who doesn’t invariably pull up a few good plants along with the tares he may succeed in rooting out.
Ah, yes. I’ve probably been guilty of pulling up a few lilies myself. How much better it would have been if I had left things in the Lord’s hands. Of course, that would require love, patience, forgiveness, grace, etc. on my part…