“The kingdom of heaven is like a person who sowed good seed in his field… When the plants sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared. So the slaves of the owner came and said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, since in gathering the weeds you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.’” 
(Matthew 13:24-30, excerpted, New English Translation)
Weeds or Wheat?
by Kathy Beck

Our son, Travis, is Director of Parks in Santa Cruz, California. Not long ago he called us from the car while he and his family were on their way home (fear not—our daughter-in-law was driving). Suddenly we heard him say urgently, “Stop, stop!” The car window went down and he called, “Sir? Sir! What are you doing?...Oh, I see. Well then, thank you.” The car started up again.

Curious, I asked what had happened. “There was a man in one of the city flowerbeds, pulling up plants,” he told me. “He said he was weeding.”

“How did he know which ones were the weeds?” I wondered, and Travis explained, “He said they were singing.” 

That was intriguing. “What were they singing?”

“I didn’t ask,” he replied with a touch of impatience. “I didn’t need to get into an extended discussion about singing weeds with a homeless person.” 

Fair enough. But my question was also fair: How do we tell the weeds from the wheat, the harmful from the valuable? God (and the homeless man) could hear what those weeds were singing. Perhaps it was a song of gleeful destruction, a dark chant of hopelessness, or a desperate cry for help to the Creator who makes all things new. Maybe it was a joyous celebration of existence, of sun and good earth. We can’t tell because we can’t hear the song of the weeds.

Let them grow until the harvest, when the difference will be plain. Perhaps what we judge to be a weed has a hidden purpose, a song we can’t yet discern. God is good at finding uses for things we do not value, whether plants, people or circumstances. “Be still,” God counsels us. “Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but wait. Nothing is wasted in my creation.” May we be patient until things ripen and the way forward becomes clear.
Lord, we want to rush the harvest, to solve all our problems now, to get on with it. But you remind us to await your good time. You are present in our pleasant gardens and also when we are stuck way out in the weeds. We praise you, God of the wheat and the weeds. Amen.