Sunday, 23 July 2017

Future seeds or future weeds

Christ tells us stories (Matt 13.24 ff) that come from an agricultural landscape that we are probably unfamiliar with in today's world of high tech and vicarious pleasure.  As with last week, it is story set in the seasonal growth of a growing period and not the fast paced www highways that extend around the world.  It is about looking towards a future that is down the long road and not immediate, it is about looking at our fast paced lives through the eyes of God.  The human agenda is strewn with details and minuscule events that in actuality turn out to be non-entities in the bigger picture world that is the God story, the story of salvation.

We are sometimes pathetically upset by the long way round or are fascinated by the view of time held by those who work the land.  We often fail to see the driving motivation and become agitated when the result is not immediate.  Often we have moved this attitude into our modern farming productive methods because we want to have immediate results.  Unfortunately, nature and God do not really work like that no matter how much we would like it to be.  Like God we need to start to look towards the future, it may not happen in this generation but if the seeds are correctly planted no matter what the vicissitudes of life there will be a harvest at the end.  We sometimes concern ourselves overly much, like the servants and the workers in the Matthew parable, with obtaining an immediate satisfactory perfection.  This can be applied to any situation within our spiritual as well as our mundane lives.  Yes, occasionally, there is a need to act with haste and immediacy but we need to remember that there is a consequence to every hasty action we take.

Can you tell the difference?  What is wheat in God's eyes and what is a tare?

The servants and stewards in the parable want to remove the weeds immediately but it is the sagacity of the owner who reminds them that in taking out one weed the probability of taking out good plants is high and therefore likely to reduce the final yield.  We want to focus on the irritants, we want to dive in and save the day with our programmes and our schemes.  Once again we forget that God is the one who is leading us along the path to redemption and salvation. We only have to look at our hasty actions of the past (reminding ourselves about the effectiveness of hindsight) when it comes to our goals in terms of the environment and our human sustainability.  We see the immediate benefits of something and jump in to utilise that for our benefit.  In this day and age it would have been thought that we would have learnt from the hastiness of the past and be more deliberate about how we take up new things.

Looking at our political decisions in recent months it is fairly obvious that greed is the motivating force behind most decisions and not the good of the world or for the long term benefit of humanity.  Even when we consider the benefits for a country we only consider the economic benefit in the short term not the long term.  We do the same thing within the church.  We look to solve the short term issue and not look at the long term issue.  Christ shows us God's view point in this parable, a viewpoint taken up by God in the vision that Jacob had on his journey (Gen. 28.10-19).  This is not a dream of the immediate goal but a dream of a long term vision.  A dream that takes Jacob into a blessed future but one that does not suggest that there will be no hardships.  In looking to the future whether politically, spiritually or in our everyday lives we need to hold to the dream not to overcoming the small irritants and details.  They have a way of working out but not the way we either expect or necessarily want in our own minds.  Yet, they will be what God wants.

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