wheat, weeds and works in progress

Ever feel like in a particular period of time, you receive multiple messages and they are all about the same thing, like there’s a lesson you need to learn? During these times do you feel like the universe is trying to tell you something? Well, that’s how the “new agers” would look at it anyway. But when this happens to me, I realize that the Creator of the universe, (not the universe) who coincidently is also my Heavenly Father, is trying to teach me something. So maybe I should sit up and take notice. Maybe I should pay close attention. Maybe I should listen and learn.

Now in my role as the “blackboard bandit” I have been continuing to write positive messages on whiteboards throughout the high school. Today’s message involved telling the students (or whoever would chance to read the words) that they are God’s masterpieces (Eph. 2:10) and consequently they are of infinite value. The world does not necessarily tell them that they have value just as they are. Actually the world doesn’t tell any of us that we have intrinsic value given to us by our Creator God. But we do. That’s the truth. Still, we more often believe the lie that we are worthless. Probably because the world doesn’t see most of us as very valuable unless we temporarily have riches or fame or power or influence.

So today’s whiteboard message about the students being masterpieces included the encouragement that they are all works in progress. We all are. Then the devotion I read today was written by someone struggling with their self worth because they weren’t where they wanted to be. None of us are though, because we are all works in progress. We are unfinished masterpieces or masterpieces in the making, if you will. God doesn’t give up on us. So we don’t have to give up on ourselves or on each other. The apostle Paul reminded the Philippians of this truth when he wrote these words to them –

“being confident of this, that He (God) who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

That’s encouraging, don’t you think? God’s still at work in my life and in your life, too, dear readers. During this same time I am studying the parable Jesus told about the wheat and the weeds. In this story the farmer sows wheat but weeds are also growing up in his field right alongside the wheat. The workers ask permission to pull up the weeds because after all, the weeds are taking up the wheat’s space, soil and sun, making it harder for the wheat to grow. But surprisingly, the farmer says to them this, in Matthew 13:29,

” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.’ “

Ok, but aren’t the workers smart enough to recognize which are the weeds and which are the wheat, and pull up only the weeds? I would assume it would be obvious to any farmer worth his salt, which was the edible wheat and which was the poisonous weed. Apparently, not so. Author Tom Hughes, explains it this way –

“The word Jesus uses, often translated “weed,” is a specific type of rye grass called darnel, which has poisonous seeds. At the harvest, if you processed it with the good wheat, the resulting flour would be ruined. If you fed it to your family, they would get sick. So the poisonous weeds must be removed. Here’s the problem: Until they are full grown, darnel and wheat are virtually impossible to distinguish from each other. You might think you are removing a weed, when you are really uprooting wheat.”

“Until they are full grown.” These words are a reminder to me that I can’t judge other people prematurely. (or at all) Besides the fact that it’s not my job, I can’t tell the wheat from the weeds while we are all growing up together in God’s field. Author Hughes puts it this way –

“The reason Jesus does not ask us to get rid of evil people is that we would not do a very good job of it. We keep thinking someone is a weed. We write the person off. We look down on the individual and wish he or she were simply gone. God is saying, ‘Be patient. Give that person some time and you might be surprised. That person might turn around.’ ”

God is patient with me as He slowly turns me from a weed into wheat. Should I be any less patient with those around me who are also growing up toward the sun (actually Son) as I am? God is in the business of turning weeds into wheat. He alone determines the time of the harvest and God doesn’t wish that anyone should pull up any weeds or wheat before His appointed time.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

So God is letting the wheat and the weeds grow up together and only God can tell the difference between wheat and weeds. I can’t. Neither can you. It is only God “who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23) And as if to reinforce this idea, I found myself reading similar sentiments in Brant Hansen’s book, “Unoffendable.” Hansen wrote –

“I don’t know, ultimately, where people stand. I know what they need and what I need. I know we need Jesus. . . . It’s simple, honestly. You can quit trying to assess everyone; quit pretending you know where people stand; quit fooling yourself into thinking you know what others are thinking, what’s in their hearts. Let’s be humble and admit what we don’t know. . . . I’m so glad the judging business is God’s business. I can’t handle it. Neither can you, really, even if you think you can. . . . It takes a tremendous amount of humility . . . to hand over this job to God. But He made us, and He knows how we operate best. . . . He’s promising a better way of life. . . . He’s offering peace.”

I identify with the struggling person who wrote the devotion I read. She felt more like a weed than wheat. But it’s not harvest time yet! God is still transforming us day by day into the likeness of His beloved Son, Jesus. Our stories are still being written (post – “eight billion books) – we are still on the Potter’s wheel and He is still adding colors daily to the masterpieces He is making of our lives. God is doing all the work – ours is to trust Him enough to allow Him to have His way in our lives and finish the work He began in me and in you.

My Heavenly Father knows the end from the beginning. I will trust Him with the outcome.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

Right now, it is not time for me to judge myself or to judge others. Judgement is God’s job, which He will do in His perfect timing. This leaves me free to love and to accept everyone, without the burden of having to decide if they are a weed or wheat. We are all works in progress. I can’t possibly know what anyone will one day become. Only our Creator knows what any of us will one day be. His vision for each one of us is perfect. He does not abandon us before it is time for the harvest but rather I read this in Philippians –

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

God’s purposes are good. He turns water into wine, weeds into wheat and works in progress into masterpieces. Thank You, Lord.

“For we are God’s masterpieces, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

sincerely, Grace Day

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