“…for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat…” Matthew 13:24-30 (NRSV)
My family never had a garden when we were kids (unless the potted geraniums in the air shaft count). When my Mom finally had the chance to create her first-ever vegetable garden, my now-adult sister was more than willing to lend a hand, but she didn’t have much experience planting and weeding. I remember her coming in from the garden on a hot afternoon and announcing, “I finally figured out how to tell a weed from a vegetable seedling. You pull it out, and if it grows back, it was a weed.”
That’s exactly what the landowner in Jesus’ parable is trying to avoid. His servants tell him there are weeds sprouting among the good grain, and they ask permission to get rid of the interlopers. A little Roundup, some aggressive tilling, and the monoculture will be restored in no time. But the owner of the field says, “No; for in gathering the weeds, you would uproot the grain as well.”
Sometimes it’s awfully hard to tell the weeds from the late bloomers. A “weed,” after all, is just a plant growing where someone thinks it doesn’t belong. Nip it in the bud, and you will never know what fruit it might have borne.
It’s the mistake George Zimmerman made, when he pulled the trigger on Trayvon Martin.
Be patient with us, God, as we learn to be patient gardeners.