Devotional 32: Let Them Grow Together…

Matthew 13:24-30

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

This parable is often not preached, in deference to the one about the Sower and the seed, which is the Word, but I found myself drawn to this for a few years now, especially as the times upon us now continue to unfold in seemingly unchecked aggression, fighting for rights, and strife along racial and economic lines.

I am reminded of the admonition to take the lowly place, so that we may come up higher when called by the host, instead of taking the high and lofty place, and lose it to someone of greater stature. Jesus said the least in the kingdom of Heaven was greater than His cousin and herald, John the Baptist. As Christians act like Pharisees, and compromise with the world (me included), and don’t practice grace and judging righteously, speaking Truth in love, and loving one another even inside the Way, we must walk in faith while watching, praying, and making disciples of ALL nations, not just the ones who look like us. We must be, as Jesus said, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

What draws me to this parable is that:

1- the landowner’s property had to be big, if an enemy was able to get in and sow weeds undetected (figuratively speaking).

2- the plants looked enough alike that weeding them before the harvest would’ve culled the good along with the bad.

3- the good crops are utilized, protected by the barn, and used by the landowner for the good of others, feeding them on that which is whole and good.

4- the tares are to be destroyed, consumed by fire, and made to disappear.

But here’s the main thrust of it: They looked so enough alike as they grew that the servants would not be able to tell them apart.

There are former Christians who have left the faith for various reasons. John says they were not of the faith or they would have remained.

John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

There are new believers entering the faith:

Luke 23:39-43

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ,[j] save Yourself and us.”

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[k] remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

I would be among the sheaves of joy, going into the Kingdom, forever protected, forever sinless, forever useful, forever praising God and serving Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore I pray:

King Jesus, remember me indeed, O Lord, when you come into your kingdom.

I bless Your holy Name above all names that took my wretchedness into your dying body, and purged me of fault before the Father, that I might be with you, on that day, resurrected in Paradise.

Help me then, Lord, to store up my treasures in Heaven, where thieves don’t break in and steal. Strengthen my desire to be ever like You, and less like me. Cover the filthy rags of my self-serving righteousness in Your spotless blood, and save me from the fires waiting for the unfruitful and purposeless, and the outer darkness of the rebellious and faithless, in the time of Harvest.

Do not blot my name from the Book of Life, that I may eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life in the Garden, and live forever with You as my Savior, Brother, Master, Lord and King.

I ask it in Your Name, in faith believing.


Devotional 4: Two Trees of Eternal Life

Genesis 3:

22 And the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become as one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever”—

23 therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken.

Galatians 3:13

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Here, in contrast, are two trees of Life, one from Eden, and the other, the cross of Calvary.

Of one, we were not to eat, but because there was disobedience regarding the Tree of Knowledge, there was a casting out of Paradise, lest there be the same for the Tree of Life.

Yet, Jesus tells us that unless we eat of His flesh, which was to be hung on a tree, thereby becoming for us the gateway to eternal Life, we will not enter Heaven. (John 6:53)

Two trees laden: one with pleasant but forbidden fruit, and one with bitter, holy blood, of which we are invited to partake.

Those who now reject the latter tree do so to their eternal peril.

We are to walk by faith and know that we will be the harvest of the first fruits of resurrection, the Risen One, in this, our Father demands obedience, but does not force us to obey.

The Tree of Life is guarded by a flaming sword, but there are no such weapons around the Cross.

Earthly fruit trees die, and their fruit spoils, but there is no drying up of the holy blood which covers our sins, iniquities, and transgressions to the exacting eyes of our Father, who has handed all judgment to the Son.

Therefore let us not be found in pride, disobedience, and rebellion, for the Father says He will make the Son’s enemies His footstool.

Let us boldly, but reverently, approach the throne of Grace, and partake of the tree of Eternal Life, the cross, who’s fruit is the Bread of Life, and who’s seed is the anointing confirmation of the Holy Spirit, sealing us to Heaven. Let us reach and touch the hem of his holiness, that we might be made well.

Therefore, I pray:

Father in Heaven, help me to know that this is not my permanent home. Help me to remember that I have been called out from the world to minister to it your Holy Truth, the Gospel of Your glorious Son, the Bread of Life, who was nailed to a tree, that I might have Eternal Life and fellowship with Him, and be in the Light of Your Presence without fear of death.

Jesus says no one has seen the Father except the Son, and that is true; I haven’t seen You, Father, but I have seen Your power at work in my life, and the lives of those I love. 

Would that we did not have knowledge of evil, but we do; we also have knowledge of good, and therefore can counter the deeds of evil men, with Your power working on our behalf. We have but to ask, in faith believing we have already received.

Help me to keep the second Tree of Eternal Life, the cross of Your Son, and my Savior, ever in my vision, my thoughts, my words, and my deeds; let me partake fully of the sanctification of the fruit of salvation, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I thank You for my gifts, and the opportunity to use them for Your glory. Let me therefore be a fruitful branch in the making and establishing of Your coming Kingdom.

Bless me this day, Father, and let my sins of the day be covered by His holy blood once more.

In His Name, and to Your Mercy, I pray.