The Framework of History (5)
“But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 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.”’” Matthew 13.29, 30
Grow and sow
In a secular age such as ours, the challenge to Christians remains that which Jesus outlined in the parable of the wheat and the tares. We are to work the field of the world, looking forward to and preparing for the Lord’s harvest. When the Lord comes in glory to reap His Kingdom, those He has chosen for salvation will be growing and sowing in their own space, readying an ample harvest for His glory.
The presence of a secular age does not alter our mandate. We should neither be discouraged nor fearful about following the Son of Man into our own sector of His field, to sow good seeds of Kingdom righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit. Every Christian has been sent to the world as Jesus was sent (Jn. 20.21), and we must not allow the conditions of the world to keep us from fulfilling our calling.
We understand that this will be a struggle (Acts 14.21, 22). Spiritual forces of wickedness in high places are arrayed against us, and people committed to an under-the-sun way of life can present obstacles and challenges to our mission.
But despite the disenchanted, narcissistic, materialistic nature of our times, our calling to the Kingdom and glory of God remains (1 Thess. 2.12). We must work the field to which the Lord sends us each day, laboring with the Son of Man to cultivate the soil, sow Kingdom seeds, and nurture as much fruit for the glory of God as each day affords. For as long as He is pleased to leave us here, we must seek His Kingdom, growing and sowing for the glory of God, allowing no hindrance to keep us from our work.
Weeds in the wheat field
I grew up in Illinois, across the road from a wheat field. Every year I would watch as the farmer prepared the ground for sowing. Great disc cultivators would disrupt the hard soil, turning it over to expose the rich earth beneath – like Paul in Athens, stirring up the soil of men’s hearts by his many conversations and probing questions. Next came the planter, distributing good seed throughout the field, working until every square inch of that acreage was sown with the promise of wholesome, life-bearing fruit.
Soon shoots of new wheat would appear, turning the black soil to a promising green. At the same time, pockets of weeds would emerge here and there in the field – dark green and red infestations, portents of a struggle to come. Throughout the growing season, the wheat and weeds would compete for space, light, and resources.
The weeds would spread, blocking the sun from weak seedlings and taking over the ground they once occupied. Ugly, heady, and intractable, the weeds would increase and cast their seed between the rows of earth, as more and more pockets of undesirable intruders became established throughout the field.
Yet the greatest portion of the field produced strong fruit-bearing plants, which grew to bright green, waving shafts before turning golden, their heads bent beneath the summer sun, indicating that the harvest was near. Anyone driving past this field would recognize it not as a weed field, but a wheat field, from which a hard-working farmer would soon realize a bumper crop. And when the farmer finally came with his combine to reap the harvest, the good seed was gathered, while the weeds were trampled and crushed.
We must struggle
In just the same way Christians must expect that the weeds of sin will strive against the full flourishing of the Kingdom seed. We must not back down from this struggle, but prepare to engage and prevail in it.
What is the nature of this struggle? The devil and his minions are at work in the Lord’s field, striving by many means to capture hearts, pollute minds, corrupt priorities, and infest words and works. They leach into the time of people’s lives, substituting images of self and happiness for the image of God and His Kingdom, and making of people lives a succession of vain pursuits.
They will infect our work with an obsession for self-advancement, and replace interest in holy endeavors with frivolous distractions and dangerous diversions. The enemies of the Lord will seek to persuade us, with great humor and promise, that we are better to invest in selfish concerns than the hard work of sowing and growing in the field of our Lord.
The portion of the field to which we are sent is daily seeded with wickedness. As we come into that field – all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities – bringing the light of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, we may expect the darkness to resist, to stand its ground, to become even more firmly rooted in shadowy beliefs and practices. We must guard our own souls from the attractions of the darkness, and labor to grow in the grace and truth of the Lord. And we must continue by every means and in every season to sow the good seed of the Kingdom, that those who know the Lord may grow strong in Him, and those who do not may at least consider His glory.
We must not give ground to evil. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said to a gathering of Russian artists, concerning the evil of Marxism in their beloved Russian, “Let that come, if it must come, only not by me.”
Let us identify and own our portion of the Lord’s field, and prepare each day for the struggle of bringing forth fruit on that ground for the harvest and glory of Christ. The Lord’s field, and your portion of it, is not a weed field, waiting to be burned, but a wheat field, full of potential for glory, if we will be take up the struggle, grow in the Lord, and go forth sowing each day.
1. Have you identified your portion of the Lord’s field, that to which He sends you each day? What is your approach to working your Personal Mission Field?
2. Christians must prepare each day to struggle against the “weeds” of this world. What does that preparation entail?
3. Meditate on Ephesians 5.15-17. What are the consequences of our failing to make the best use of the time God entrusts to us each day?
Next steps – Preparation: How can you improve your daily preparation for going out into your portion of the Lord’s field?
T. M. Moore
Our Mission Partners Outreach program can equip you to identify and work your Personal Mission Field. Watch this brief video (click here), then find a friend and begin working your part of the Lord’s field more consistently and with greater effects.
For a more developed view of the Kingdom, and of the Gospel of the Kingdom, order a copy of our book The Kingdom Turn (click here) or The Gospel of the Kingdom (click here).
We look to the Lord to provide for our needs, and He does so through those who are served by this ministry. Please prayerfully consider becoming a supporter of The Fellowship of Ailbe with your financial gifts. You can send your tax-free contribution to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452, or use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.