“An enemy has done this”
(Gospel for 16th Sunday of the Year – Matthew 13:24-33)
It’s a strong line, no doubt, and one that might well make us feel uncomfortable.
You can sense the deep frustration and disappointment of the land-owner who knows he did his best to plant good seed in his land, There’s frustration also for the workers who toiled in the heat of day to prepare the soil and plant what they felt would yield a sound harvest. Later, to their shock and horror, the discovered weeds among the wheat and realised their work had been contaminated.
There’s more going on here than a story of a farmer’s dilemma. We are being told about life and the awful realisation that things we had taken for granted have been compromised. People we worked with and for, children that parents gave everything for, have shown signs that the crop has been infested. Decisions have been taken, words spoken and actions too, that clearly say, “This is not what we had hoped for”.
The reaction might be to rush in, pull out the weeds but the Lord says “No”! In doing that, the good work might be damaged too. Take your time with this. Talk through it, allow the planted seeds of truth, honesty, faith, love, goodness and so much more to grow and then the less appealing aspects can be seen for what they are and weeded out. It calls for patience and a belief that the good work done was not done in vain.
The “enemy” needs to be named though and recognised. The enemy is that which works against the ones with good intention and loving hearts. The enemy is found in the one who seeks to lead us down a path best not travelled. The enemy works beneath the surface, out of sight and often in the darkness to infest what is truly good and best in us. We need to be aware that the enemy is not a myth but very real and very dangerous.
There’s something being said to us this weekend about patience and alertness—the need for both.