“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Do you understand all these things?” “Yes,” they said, “we do.” Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.”
Dear God, I really thought I had done this passage already, but maybe I just read it and thought about it without journaling. So let me dive on in.
It feels like I am getting two definite themes among these “the kingdom of heaven is like…” verses. One category talks about how it is something that grows organically from a grassroots level. The second is like this, where it talks about the good and bad living together and then being separated at the end of times.
In the case of this type of passage, the world would be such a different place if you didn’t do it this way. What if you just killed all of the evil people instantly? What if you removed them from the equation at the beginning? Well, here are some problems with that:
- Where would you draw the line? Does the adulterer get vanquished? The thief? The liar? On which side of the cut line would I fall?
- Is there a grace period? If I do something evil, do I get a certain period to repent and turn to you, or is it instant judgment?
- Is there an age I would have to reach before I am culled out of the crop?
- What would it be like to live in a world that had no evil? Without anything against which we have to struggle, would we lose our need for you? The only way I can see for that to work is for us to be in your physical presence in heaven. That’s when evil will not be able to exist in your presence and we won’t be led away from your light.
- If you removed the evil, would those that are yours miss their opportunity to introduce them to you?
Father, make me part of the solution and not the problem. Forgive me for not being a better fish. Forgive me for not being a better crop. I don’t do enough to be your salt and light. I don’t do enough to bring those other fish and weeds into your kingdom. I know I can’t do it all, but I can certainly do more than I’m currently doing. Help me to know what you would have me do next, and please bless that work, whatever it is.
In Jesus’s name I pray,