Editor’s Note: Throughout the summer, we are thrilled to be able to reintroduce to you a number of Life Lectionary lessons we’ve gathered over the past few years. You can look for these passages and teachings that affirm and celebrate life biweekly. This selection is based on Matthew 13:24-30.

Jesus sets a pattern in Matthew of telling parables, which are followed up with an explanation.

We live in a world where good and evil thrive together, just as the weeds and the wheat thrive together. Only at the time of harvest will there be a separation of good and evil. Both will have the opportunity to know Christ, to choose Christ.

Caring for those that are evil and those that are good is essential. Now that is the challenge though. Living together, holding back judgment is not easy. But as Christians we are to hold back judgment and to love instead of judge.

It is also our challenge in these moments to speak truth to the false prophets and to evil. It is Jesus who is Lord and who reigns.

At times, it seems as if it is not a healthy field for the wheat to grow in because the weeds have taken over the soil, and they are blocking out the sun. Under the same sun and the same care, it is God’s grace that allows the weeds to grow along with the wheat as the wheat awaits the angels coming for harvest.

No judgment is needed we are told, as it is God who makes the final judgment. Until then, there are occasions throughout life to continually repent.

We need to hear repeatedly about the kingdom of heaven in order to grasp that understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice and His grace. Those who will not repent and nor love the Savior Jesus will be punished in a manner that we cannot imagine. At that time, “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” there will be deep sorrow and significant pain for those who have walked away from salvation.

To live among the non-believers, to help them see Jesus on a daily basis through Christian living is what we can do best for the harvest. It is symbolic of the mercy and respect given to the weeds as Christ has given grace to us, the wheat. It is the hope in their salvation that reigns from Christ crucified for all eternity.

The Rev. Joanne Mumley