Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” -Matthew 13:30 (NKJV)

I hated pulling weeds when I was a kid. My mom would recruit–no, conscript–us to laboriously dig up and pull weeds that were choking off the tomatoes and other plants she grew in the backyard. I just wanted to play video games or do just about anything else but that.

It’s funny what age does to you. What was once seemingly endless torture for an impatient young man is now a therapeutic time when God helps sort things out in my heart and soul.

I also sort the desirable plants from the undesirable. And it takes a while as I really have to work to get some of the far-reaching, deeply rooted weeds pulled from the soil and tossed from the garden. It takes discernment and patience, both of which I credit to the Holy Spirit.

Depending on the translation, the Parable of the Wheats and the Tares is simply called the Parable of the Weeds. In it, Jesus tells us how wheat (true believers) and tares (unbelievers, which includes impostors) appear very similar–till the believers bear fruit. Once the Day arrives, God’s angels will sort out the believers for salvation, and the unbelievers to be bundled up and burned (go to hell).

I don’t want to be a weed. I want to live a pleasing life in this beautiful garden God lets us live and thrive in. I want my roots to run deep through all seasons, nourished by His living water, and not choked off by the surrounding weeds (as explained in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:3-9). I thirst for His living water, so I may continue to bear fruit to His glory. I pray, dear reader, that you do, too!

And I encourage you to remember that what we endure now is the preparation for what God is preparing ahead: answered prayers, continued growth and strength and wisdom, and to be in His presence for eternity. We are in the throes of growing pains in His garden as we reach ever upward to Him. Never mind the weeds around us; we more than survive…we thrive for and to His glory!