Parables of the Kingdom
by Pr. Dave Mann
The parable of the mustard seed (vv. 31-32) and the parable of the yeast (v. 33) are just one or two sentences long. They have a similar message to each other. Both use images of ordinary items in a home—yeast and mustard seed, both small. Though nearly imperceptible, in time, they grow and yield things that are quite useful—a habitat for birds and bread to eat. So, the kingdom of heaven grows yielding a lifetime, even an eternity, of benefit. Don’t underestimate the value of God’s work in your life!
The other parable (the sowing of weeds in vv. 24-30) and its explanation (vv. 36-43) has a distinctly different message. A man plants his field with good seed (the Word of God), but at night the enemy (the devil) sows weed seed over the same ground. Once both sprout the field is full of both good and bad seed. The workers, frustrated and disgusted with the situation, want to “clean up” the field by pulling out the weeds. However, the owner wants to hear nothing of the workers’ plan, knowing that their zeal to purify the field would no doubt bring the demise of many good plants. The owner is content to let both types of seed grow to full maturity until the harvest, when the identity of each would be clear, and the different plants would be easily separated—an action that corresponds to the final judgment.
Our attitude is often that of the workers. We are frustrated that the world (and even the church) is a mixture of the good and bad, the righteous and the unrighteous. We ask the Lord to separate the wheat and chaff right away. We even desire to be his agents in the separating process. But God, in his wisdom, does not accord to us the responsibility of ridding the world of those whom we have identified as the weeds, the undesirable of the world. We want the Lord’s field to be neat and tidy, but God is not concerned about “looking good.” His patience is greater than ours. We prefer swift, even whimsical justice. God is willing to endure the time of the growing season until the harvest, which to us may seem to be an eternity. But God’s judgment will surely come, and with it comes a just judgment.
Lord, you who are the only just and righteous judge in the world, grant that we may trust your wisdom and your judgment in such a way that we learn to imitate your patience and your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.