July 18 – July 24, 2017

WORD

24He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.  26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.  27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?  Where, then, did these weeds come from?’  28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’  29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.  30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

36Then he left the crowds and went into the house.  And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”  37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.  40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.  41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Let anyone with ears listen!

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?  Where, then, did these weeds come from?

As a child, I loved dandelions.  I still think they are beautiful, both in their seed form and their fully grown yellow form.  I would blow the seeds of the immature plant and watch with joy as they floated slowly and gracefully to the ground.  I would pick the yellow mature plants and give them proudly to my mom like little handfuls of sunbeams.  Dandelions became associated in my mind with the innocence of childhood.  I even wrote a poem celebrating the plant in my high school creative writing class.  It was appropriately entitled The Beauty of Dandelions.

I was surprised later in life to learn that dandelions are considered weeds.  When I think of weeds I think of the pigweed that doubles its growth overnight in my yard or the tall grasses with the sticky seeds that have been everywhere this summer.  Or I think of all the stringy, ugly plants I so skillfully have grown when trying to grow vegetables.  These kinds of weeds are only fit for the lawnmower!

There is a lot of discussion in Scripture concerning fruitfulness.  We are called to bear good spiritual fruit in our lives through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit within us – fruit such as goodness, love, kindness, and peace.  Yet, if you are like me you also have a lot of weeds growing within your life and your soul.  Sometimes these weeds look attractive.  Like dandelions they resemble the healthy, fruitful plants, but in reality they steal nutrients from those plants.

There might be things in your own life that do not seem “evil,” but they steal your energy and joy and prevent you from being fruitful.  Tearing these soul weeds from your life might seem hurtful and disruptive, but doing so might allow you to mature fully into the person God has created you to be.  What weeds are springing up within your life and your soul?  Are you ready to sacrifice these things for healing, wholeness, and holiness?  Do not allow the weeds of life to choke out what God is doing in you.  Weeds are only fit for the fire.  You were created for glory.

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: In gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.  Let both of them grow together until the harvest.

Scripture is clear in telling us that God’s patience with the world is due to God’s great love for those who do not know God.  The reason Jesus tarries in his return is because he desires to see as many people as possible come to the saving knowledge of his love and grace.  As Peter writes: “But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.  Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation” (2 Peter 3:13-15a).  This week, pray for all those who do not know the love and grace of Jesus Christ and thank God for divine patience.  Ask for God’s continued patience in your own life.  Through prayer weeds might just turn into wheat.

Meditation Focus: His disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 

When we do not understand something Jesus taught or something that is written in Scripture, then we are in good company.  We doubt and are perplexed just as the disciples doubted and were perplexed.  Is there something that puzzles you about Scripture or, specifically, the teachings of Jesus?  In the stillness of a quiet moment of meditation, ask God to give you understanding and illumination concerning that particular Scripture or teaching.  Listen for the Spirit’s gentle voice of wisdom as the Spirit teaches your soul new things about God’s truth.  As Jesus promised, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13a).

Journaling Focus: The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field.

What are you doing to sow good seed in the field of your life?  For a day or two, write down everything you do, watch, and consume.  Take inventory of your time, money, and activities.  Then write your reflections about how these either reflect or deflect from who you want to be.  Do not be too hard on yourself, but do examine your life through the filter of discipleship and devotion to Christ.  Remember that there is always grace AND we are called to greater communion with and faithfulness to God.

Holy Action: 

Give something up for a week.  Practice the spiritual discipline of fasting.  See what your life is like without television or the internet or spending money frivolously.  How do you hear and respond to God more faithfully during these times of fasting?

Breath Prayer: Father, prepare us for a good harvest.

 

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