Sunday, November 2, 2008

Right Place or Wrong Place?

[The disciples asked Jesus] Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field. Jesus answered, 'The one who sowed the good seed is the son of Man. The Field is the world, and good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil.' ~ Matthew 13:37-39 (The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds)

God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. A sense of destiny is our birthright as followers of Christ. God is awfully good at getting us where he wants us to go. But here's the catch: The right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time. ~
Mark Batterson (In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day)

To explain the nature of God's kingdom, Jesus used parables. Parables were simple, earthy stories that very effectively helped inquiring learners make sense of complex truths. After Jesus told the disciples the parable of the wheat and the weeds, the disciples were curious to know more about the weeds.

Jesus explained that the weeds represented the sons of the evil one, and the wheat represented the sons of the kingdom. Both were placed in a field. The field represents the world. God owned the field. To understand the weeds, the disciples would first need to know that they (the wheat) were purposefully and strategically placed in the world (field), and that Christ's kingdom would advance as others like them, sons of the kingdom, multiplied. That would be crucial in understanding the significance of the weeds.

Knowing that, the disciples would understand that the sons of the evil one were also purposely and strategically placed in the world. In short, Jesus wanted the disciples to know that they would always be surrounded by those in the world, who were not yet in his kingdom.

Here is the beautiful part . . .

In kingdom work the disciples would need to know that the right place may often seem like the wrong place. And right timing may often seem like the wrong timing. Why such a paradox? Because the norm of their life would be that of being strategically plunked down in the shadow of the devil's workmanship. If they rejected that fact they might conclude that being in dark (worldly) places meant they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their first priority could easily become a series of boundless extremes to wall themselves off from contact with the world. But the spiritual reality is: God, by design, put them in the world in the right place at the right time. And so it is with us -- we infiltrate rather than isolate -- that is how the kingdom is advanced.

One more thought -- humility reminds us that at one time we, too, were weeds. Only by the miracle of transformation was our very nature changed -- from sons of the evil one -- to sons of the kingdom. Amen.

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