Blessed… A Plant No One Loved

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like someone who planted good seed in his field. While people were sleeping, an enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat and went away. When the stalks sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared. “The servants of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Then how is it that it has weeds?’ “‘An enemy has done this,’ he answered, “The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them?’ “But the landowner said, ‘No, because if you gather the weeds, you’ll pull up the wheat along with them.  Let both grow side by side until the harvest. And at harvest time I’ll say to the harvesters, “First gather the weeds and tie them together in bundles to be burned. But bring the wheat into my barn” ’”

 Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Jesus replied, “The one who plants the good seed is the Human One.  The field is the world. And the good seeds are the followers of the kingdom. But the weeds are the followers of the evil one.  The enemy who planted them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the present age. The harvesters are the angels.  Just as people gather weeds and burn them in the fire, so it will be at the end of the present age.  The Human One will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that cause people to fall away and all people who sin.  He will throw them into a burning furnace. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Those who have ears should hear” (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, Common English Bible).

I know I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. The pressures of Holy Week just really hit me pretty hard and something had to give. It ended up being the blog.

We are going to spend a couple of days on “The Parable of the Weeds.” I have preached this text many times and have a few things I would like to share with you.

Tyler, Texas is small city in northeast Texas, about an hour and a half east of Dallas. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful parts of the state. I served one of the congregations in Tyler from October 2001 through December 2004. I still have deep connections to Tyler as my youngest son and his family still live there.

Tyler is best known, at least historically, for its rose farms. It is a place where you can buy roses cheap because they don’t grow the plants for the flowers, they grow them for the plants. At the time I was there, you could buy a dozen roses from a roadside vendor for as little as $2.00. My wife loved it.

One Sunday, while serving there, I preached the text that is our lesson today. I don’t really remember now what I said. It wasn’t anything earth shattering. As I remember it, it wasn’t one of my best sermons but it wasn’t the worst either.

The thing I remember now so fifteen or so years later is what one man said to me on his way out the door. The man was one of Tyler’s rose farmers. He was generally a pretty quiet man, didn’t have a lot to say but when he did speak it was usually worth remembering. Such was the case on this particular day. He said, “Preacher, always remember, a weed us just a plant nobody loved.”

In the light of “The Parable of the Weeds,” I got a new idea of what Jesus was saying. We look out on weeds in our lawns and thing they’ve got to go. We look at the weeds in our lives, the temptation is to root them out as well. Yet these are the people Jesus is talking about when he says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” They may not look like us. They may not act like us. Yet, they too are children of God.

What weeds are you pulling?

Have a blessed remainder of your Easter 2017.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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