Category Archives: Kingdom of Heaven

“The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…” — Matthew 25:14-30

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Matthew 25:14-30

Dear God, I’ll admit that I’ve never liked this one. I’m good with the people who got paid the same for different amounts of work. I’m okay with the virgins who got locked out because they didn’t prepare to bring enough olive oil for their lamps. But this poor fellow who started out with low ability and then didn’t want to disappoint you by losing what he was given…I don’t know. I feel bad for him.

But even as I typed that I started to wonder (and I know this isn’t a real guy, but a parable), what did he do with his time after he buried his one talent? Did he work? Did he just sit around and talk to people? I would say that Jesus’s intimation here is that he was lazy wicked (verse 26). He did nothing with his time. So what am I doing with the time you’ve given to me? What am I doing with the ability you’ve given to me? The resources? The blessing?

Father, I saw a pastor ask on Facebook earlier today, “Does anyone think it is wrong to seek power for the sake of power?” I have never seen in any of these passage from Jesus about the kingdom of heaven the idea of accumulating power. The kingdom of heaven is described as a treasure that is worth everything I am to attain. He describes it as something that starts at a grassroots and then the power of it grows organically and attracts others to it. And he talks about the responsibilities the kingdom’s citizens have to love, forgive, work, and be ready, by loving you and loving others. Assuming I am one who has already given all that I am (as best as I know how) to you, help me to be someone who contributes to the growth of your kingdom through the organic nature of love and service, and to always be ready by doing what I can with what you are.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 13, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew


The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… — Matthew 25:1-13

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.”

Matthew 25:1-13

Dear God, I am tired of waiting for your return. I’ll be honest. I try not to think much about it. So what does that mean? Who does that make me in this story? Am I a bridesmaid who fell asleep with extra oil, or am I a bridesmaid who fell asleep with no oil?

I think it’s safe to say that I’m in good company if I’m asleep. But even if I’m asleep, am I ready for your return? Am I doing what I need to do?

I read a social media post yesterday from a pastor I respect, but it was all about political parties and how one should be favored over the other because it encourages hard work. I couldn’t help but think about the scripture I read the day before about the parable of the workers who were hired at different times during the day. Then I thought that, to some extent, it’s apples and oranges to compare them, but I finally wondered, “What would Jesus say to that post? If he were here right now, what would he say about it?” Then my mind started to wander into thinking about what Jesus would have to say to me about any number of things I do or say throughout the day. No, I would say that I’ve definitely gone to sleep, and I am glad I don’t have to face Jesus in person on a moment-to-moment basis. I’m not sure I could hold up.

Father, I hope I’ve brought enough oil to get me through the night. I hope that even if I’m asleep, you’ll at least find me waiting at the door. I might not be the best worshipper, prayer, studier, listener, preacher, teacher, husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend, boss, employee, etc., but I hope the fact that I’m trying to bring what I have to the table every day is enough. I do love you and I know that I need you. I guess that’s a start.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 11, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew


The Kingdom of Heaven is like… — Matthew 22:1-14

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14


 Dear God, this story takes a turn. When I read it I expect it to be an indictment on the people who didn’t come, but it’s not. Sure, that’s implied, but the real moral of the story is that the others who actually come have some responsibilities too. I’m a gentile, and I’m invited to the party, but I have some responsibilities.

Thinking about yesterday and the parable of the workers that get hired throughout the day, as I was just sitting here, I was reminded (maybe by the Holy Spirit) of a moment yesterday afternoon in which I was annoyed with someone kind of fit the description of a late-in-the-day worker. I saw a Facebook post by someone who I know doesn’t take their relationship with you very seriously, but they are very zealous about politics. They posted about a prayer movement that was coming to a nearby city in response to Portland and the unrest there. When I saw their post I rolled my eyes and judged them. “Give me a break,” I thought. “You don’t really care about bringing God into those, but you want people to think you do.” But sitting here this morning, the thought occurred to me that this might be my chance to help them get ready for the banquet. Maybe I should offer to attend this prayer service with them. Maybe this would open dialogue about what it’s like to submit to you and love you with all my heart, soul, and strength and love my neighbor as myself. Maybe I should stop condescending and look for opportunities to love, especially since I’m still not great at loving you with all of my heart, soul, and strength or loving my neighbor as myself.

Father, I’m so sorry. Thank you for speaking to me this morning. Be glorified through my life.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 9, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew


The Kingdom of Heaven is like… — Matthew 20:1-16

1 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay the normal daily wage[a] and sent them out to work.

3 “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. 4 So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. 5 So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

6 “At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’

7 “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

8 “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9 When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
Matthew 20:1-16

Dear God, Jesus was really doing his best to offend these people. He wanted to make a point to them. Hey, it’s time to let go of yourself. It’s time to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength. It is time to truly love your neighbor as yourself. Root for your neighbor. Want the best for them even if they didn’t do everything as well as you did. Even if it costs you something.

I never noticed this little detail before (at least I don’t think I’ve notice it before), but in verse 8 Jesus says that the landowner paid the new guys first at the end of the day. Why? Well, he wanted to make sure the people hearing the story would understand that those who worked all day were there to see this “injustice.” If they had been paid first then they might have left before they realized the new guys got paid as much as they themselves had been paid. The landowner wasn’t being secretive or putting anything over on anyone. He didn’t have to answer to anyone. He could mete out mercy any way he saw fit.

So am I really prepared to root for all of my fellow people? Am I ready to cheer for those I perceive as lazy or hedonistic? Am I ready to welcome them into your kingdom and hope that they experience the peace that you offer?

Father, there is one aspect of this story that is lost. The workers who were hired early did actually get one thing that the other men didn’t get. They got the peace of knowing that they had work for the day and they would be able to feed their families that night. From the earliest parts of the day, they knew that and they also got the fulfillment of having done a full days work. There is a blessing that comes from that as well. The other men sat waiting. They were worried. They might have been hardworking, but they felt lazy. They probably felt judged by others who walked by and questioned why they weren’t working (they were certainly judged by those who had been hired earlier). No, there was a joy that the early workers experienced throughout the day that eluded the other workers until they too were hired. Help me to see those who are missing the joy that I have through being your servant and worshipper and to offer them work in your field.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 9, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew


The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… — Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Matthew 18:21-35

Dear God, I suppose it all starts with forgiveness. We are imperfect, and you put us in charge of raising other humans leaving them not only with their own imperfections but also scarred by ours as well. We interact with others every day. We sin against you, ourselves and others. It all becomes worse than a ball of tangled Christmas lights. There is no way to get the knots out. The only thing to do is take some scissors, cut it off and throw it away.

The interesting thing is that Jesus doesn’t only tell us that we have to humble ourselves and be forgiven, but he says it starts with us humbling ourselves and extending forgiveness. So what keeps me from forgiving people?

  1. Severe hurt — Okay, that is true, but what’s behind that. For example, I’m thinking of the person who forgives someone for killing their loved one. Yes, there was severe hurt, but what is the thing that changes that enables that person to forgive? It’s not like the hurt goes away, although it might dull with time. But I suspect (I don’t know) part of the forgiveness involves letting go of an expectation. In this case, an expectation that you would be able to be with that person as long as humanly possible. For the parent betrayed by a child, letting go of the expectations, hopes and dreams the parent had for that child.
  2. Betrayal — I’m embarrassed to say how often I have held a grudge due to betrayal. There is one person I can think of who betrayed me (at least, I perceived she betrayed me) about 10 years ago, and I still cringe when I hear her name. Why? Because I thought I had a right to have her behave in a certain way and when she didn’t I was deeply offended.

I think a lot of forgiveness starts with me giving up my rights, and I suppose, when I think about it, that’s where it starts with you as well. You have a right to hold all of the stuff I’ve done again me. The ways I’ve hurt you, others, and myself are really unforgivable. And you have a right, as a perfect God, to not let me off of the hook, but not only did you let me off the hook, but you did it at such a great personal cost–your son’s life and suffering. Your love for me caused you great pain. How can I ever forget that?

Father, I will never begin to understand your forgiveness of me until I can forgive others. If you simply forgive me while I hold on to all of my grudges, then I am like the man in this parable who is harsh with others while expecting everything from you. My rights, my rights, my rights. Help me to turn loose of my rights, lay them at the foot of your cross, and them worship you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 6, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew



The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… — Matthew 13:47-52

“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.”

Matthew 13:47-52

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,


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Posted by on August 5, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew



The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… — Matthew 13:44-46

This is a brief series on every time Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”

Matthew 13:44-46

Dear God, do I treat my faith like this? Do I treat it as if it is the most important thing in the world? Do I treat you like you are the most important thing in the world to me?

When I stop and consider what I have “sold” to attain you and this relationship with you–what I have given up–I can’t think of one thing that would have made my life better. If I were more selfish then I would have a bad marriage. If I pursued wealth then I would be selfish and shallow. If I pursued my own self gratifications and focused on satisfying every one of my own desires then I would be chasing something I would never catch.

So there is a reason that attaining the kingdom of heaven is worth everything I own. There is a payoff. It’s not foolishness. It is the greatest bargain I can make.

Father, help me to consciously make those same trade offs today. Help me to work as unto you. Help me to pray to you for those I love. Help me to take your presence into the world. And help me to rest in the knowledge that I don’t have to accomplish the things the world values, but I can rest in the knowledge that you are source of all good things.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 3, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew



The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… — Matthew 13:33

This is a brief series looking at every time Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”

33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

Matthew 13:33

Dear God, yes, it seems like Jesus saw your kingdom coming into the world through infestation from the bottom up and not through force from the top down. It’s almost like a computer virus, but in a good way.

So what do we need to be about doing to do our part to become viral? And what do I need to do personally?

  • Community: I think that one thing is that we absolutely cannot become viral without Christian community. As I sit here on a Sunday morning typing this to you, I have not been to an in-person church service since March (over four months). Yes, I miss that community. I am also in Rotary and although we have been meeting via Zoom each week, I have missed that as well. I have missed the community of it. It is hard for us to do service projects when we cannot be with each other.
  • Prayer: The Lord’s Prayer starts with worship of you, but the first thing it requests of you is that your kingdom will come and your will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What does your kingdom coming look like? Well, it looks like a mustard seed. It looks like yeast. It doesn’t take a lot to start, but it will grow in ways we could never imagine. You can use one action to set off an unstoppable chain of events. We just need to stop looking for greatness (as we define it), but instead worship you, pray that your kingdom will come and your will will be done, and then ask that you would give us what we need (our daily bread) to accomplish your will.
  • Repent, Forgive, and Stay Pure: It takes more than praying a prayer. It takes walking out a life in submission to you. That starts with asking your forgiveness, understanding that our own ability to forgive others is part of the equation. And then we are to ask you to help us stay pure, while maintaining the knowledge that I’ll be back later to ask you for forgiveness again.

I don’t see anything in here about convincing other people I am right about politics, anti-racism, or even how to treat/not treat COVID-19. I just need to faithfully be a piece of yeast each day, being in Christian community, worshipping you, praying that you will bring your kingdom and will into the earth, seeking you to meet my needs, repenting, forgiving, and staying pure as best I can.

Father, help me to figure out this community thing during COVID-19 social distancing. Help me to be very yeasty in my life. Let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give me this day the things you need me to have. And please forgive me of my sins and reveal to me anyone to whom I need to extend forgiveness and release. And please keep me from sinning against you and against those around me. For this kingdom, both in heaven and on earth, are yours and not mine–forever and ever.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 2, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew



The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… — Matthew 13:31-32

This is a brief series looking at every time Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”

31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Matthew 13:31-32

Dear God, so not only is the kingdom of heaven something that starts at the grassroots, but it is also something that is giving and provides something for all. In this case, not only does a large tree come from a small seed, but when the “largest of garden plants” grows into a tree it offers itself for birds to use for nesting.

What kind of a God are you? Why do you love us so much? Why do you care? Why are you so interested in my daily life? Why do you care about our problems, our society, and our future? It’s amazing. It’s absolutely amazing that the God of everything cares so much about everything.

Again, this is not an example of the kingdom of heaven spreading from the top down. Jesus did not say that the kingdom of heaven is like a king who legislates morality. I think there is one where he says it is like a king inviting people to a banquet, but we will get to that later. But in this case, we are simply to be used as a mustard seed. As individuals, we are the smallest of seeds, but if we allow ourselves to grow in you then we can become the biggest of the garden plants and offer ourselves for others. There’s really not much in this analogy for us. We are growing to be of service and productive.

Father, I’m winding down a week of vacation. Next week, it will be time for me to ramp up again. I’ll need to reengage in loving others outside of my home. Help me to remember to evaluate all of my activities through this humble lens. Help me to have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 1, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew


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The Kingdom of Heaven is Like… — Matthew 13:24-30

This is a brief series looking at every time Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” 

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 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, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Dear God, I think the first thing to notice about this is that the kingdom of heaven is here and now. This is part of the process. Yes, there is heaven, but we are its kingdom.

I wonder if this passage isn’t the answer to the age-old question, “Why does God allow evil in the world?” Well, first, it wasn’t place here by you, and, second, there’s no way to remove it without removing all of us (see Noah).

So what do I do with this? I think the first thing is to accept the idea that this is our world and I have a place in it. Evil is around me. Unfortunately, evil is in me. I am tainted by this world too. The evil takes water and nourishment that was meant for me. It exists at my expense. And I can feel its influence: greed, lust, hate, racism, insecurity, etc. It’s all there.

But my job is to grow. To be here, resist being choked out by the evil, lean into you for my nourishment and grow. In Texas we have weeds commonly referred to as sticker burs. They are the worst and you can’t kill them with chemicals. The chemicals only kill the grass around them and then they grow back stronger because they no longer have to compete with the grass. And by the time you realize what they are it’s too late. They have seeded and started to spread. No, apparently the only way to get rid of them is to choke them out with good grass. Give St. Augustine so much water that it will win its battle with the sticker burs.

Father, help me to be so attached to you as my nourishment that I will overcome the evil around me. Help me to reject the things that distract me and simply feed on you. I don’t want to be removed from the world. You can’t use me then. But I do want to remove any of my nourishment that comes from the world…Wow! Am I really ready to say that? Do I mean those words? Well, we’ll see I suppose. But help me to be so in touch with you that all of the evil that tries to consume my own life will be choked out. And please help your church in the same way. Help us all to thrive among the weeds and completely attach our roots to you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



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Posted by on July 31, 2020 in Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew