This past week was a significant one for my husband and his family. For generations they have grown oranges at the base of Palomar Mountain. Yet times have changed, and so this past week I went for a walk to see the end result of six months of intense planning and hard work. A few acres of orange trees had been removed, and in their place I saw row after row of freshly planted coffee plants. I stood there with my husband and asked him about what they needed most. Careful, consistent watering, he said. Each and every plant, thousands of them, would need to be checked regularly to see that they were receiving adequate water.
In the months and years ahead, the primary focus would be on the health of each plant. A strong and healthy crop does not mean that there are no weeds. An abundant crop is the result of providing for the plant what it needs most, proper water and nourishment. Weeds are inevitable, but they are not the primary concern.
In the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus spoke of the enemy who came and sowed weeds. Our enemy, the devil, is still sowing weeds today. The weeds he sows are intended to rob us of the beauty of the life that Jesus came to give us.
The new coffee crop reminded me again of the reality that in this world, our “fields” will never be free of weeds. Our lives will always be challenged by the weeds that the evil one sows among believers, weeds that threaten to weaken us, to divide us or to discourage us as we seek to keep our eyes on Jesus, and to walk in his ways.
Jesus said, “Let them both grow together until the harvest” (v. 30). At the time of the harvest, he will deal with the weeds that have grown in our midst. We can wait patiently for him to right the wrongs, to deal with those who have intended to harm us, to bring dissension and strife. It has not been assigned to me to do those things. What I can do, what each of us can do today is spend time with our Savior, delighting in him, learning his ways, and putting into practice the things he has called us to be and do. This is the “water” that will help us, as God’s “wheat” to grow healthy and strong. Ask the Lord today to give you patience toward those in your world whose lives are in opposition to your own. Ask him to help you walk in his ways and his peace while you wait for him.
By Nicole Jiles
Director of Children’s Ministries