“The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one.” (Matt. 13:38)
Expanded Passage: Matthew 13:36-39
Because our relationship with God is ultimately a matter of our heart, you cannot tell whether or not someone is truly in the church simply by what you can see from the outside. True, the actions of some people may give us good reason to believe that they are not part of the kingdom. But other people can go through all the motions of devotion, even appearing to be quite godly in some ways, and yet have a heart that is far from God.
A while back, I was surprised to learn that Augustine, who lived in the early 400s, recognized that, even among those who are baptized, you cannot ultimately tell who is really “in” and who is not. I once heard his practical approach summarized as, “Baptize them all, and let God sort them out.”
My sense is that we often find it difficult to leave it to God to sort the weeds out later. We want to be able to sort them out now. We want to see the offenders weeded out in this life. We want the sense of control that knowing who is in and who is out seems to offer.
God does not give us this control, and we do not ultimately have this authority. We can trust God. God will always do what is right.
Trust in God to uproot the weeds at the right time.
Ken Schenck is vice president for university partnerships with Campus EDU. He previously served as vice president for Houghton College (NY) and dean of Wesley Seminary (IN).
© 2024 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.