Jesus explained what to do about tares

The writer has been a Church of God member since 1971. He attends with the Church of God Kansas City.

By Lenny Cacchio

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo.--It's spring, and this young man's thoughts turn toward my backyard garden. Gardening is a hobby I took up when we bought our first house.

It took a little practice, though, to get things right.

That first spring I planted potatoes from kitchen peelings and delighted as they sprouted into leafy bushes. But I noticed around the edges of my potato patch was a funny-looking thing. I knew potato plants, and I knew this was no potato plant.

For a while I let it be, but eventually I concluded that I had a rather large weed on my hands. So I grabbed it and yanked it. To my consternation, I found that at the bottom of its roots were several small, immature potatoes. I had just destroyed a perfectly healthy potato plant.

Even though it looked different from the other potato plants, and even though it wasn't growing where I thought it should be growing, it was a potato plant nevertheless. It was just of a different variety.

Let them grow

In the parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus warns us about that kind of mistake. Wheat and tares were growing together, but, when asked whether to pull up the tares, the owner of the field cautioned against it "lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest. I'll sort it out later" (Matthew 13:29-30).

Too often we don't see as God sees, and we can't tell the difference between a weed and a healthy plant. It might not look as we think it should look, nor grow where we think it should grow. Its fruit might have a different shape and texture, but it can still be healthy and thriving.

God cautions us not to judge as men judge (1 Samuel 16:7). God is not fooled by outer appearances. He looks on the heart.

She's out

Once Jesus and his disciples were passing through Samaria. A Samaritan woman came up to a well, and Jesus spoke to her there.

Saying a few kind words to a woman at a well might seem insignificant, but this woman was a Samaritan--and an adulterer at that. Custom dictated that Jesus, a rabbi, should separate Himself from this Samaritan, for she had three strikes against her:

  • She was a Samaritan.
  • She was a woman.
  • She was a sinner.

But as Jesus explained to his disciples: "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest already" (John 4:35).

Because He judged as God judges, Jesus used this woman as the instrument to bring the first elements of the gospel to her people. He even revealed his true identity to them before He revealed it to his own nation, a nation that looked upon itself as being God's one true people.

I am wholly inadequate to question God's wisdom in such matters. But I pray that God will give us the wisdom to make righteous judgment.

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