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To Stand Out Among Tares

To Stand Out Among Tares

One sunny afternoon, a few sisters and I volunteered to remove the weeds in a neglected patch of ground at church. It wasn’t long before we discovered that none of us had any gardening experience.

My initial reaction to the garden was, “What weeds? Where?” The other sisters looked just as puzzled. To our surprise, a brother told us that all the tall, green fern-like plants integrated among the flowers were actually weeds and had to be removed.

We had thought the weeds looked kind of pleasant growing beside the flowers. We couldn’t tell that they were overtaking and slowly killing the garden. Their subtle and deceiving appearance cast doubts in us even as we were removing weeds by the handful. Once in a while we would ask, “These are weeds too, right?” because we were afraid of pulling out the good plants.

This encounter reminds me of the parable Jesus told, which uses the metaphor of tares, or weeds, to represent the sons of the wicked one. We are to live among the tares until the harvest at the end of the age, as Jesus instructed, “[L]est while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest” (Mt 13:29, 30a). Although we are supposed to be the good seeds, we are sometimes sadly unable to distinguish ourselves from the tares while living in this world.

However, Jesus reminds us that we are the light of the world and must shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify Him (Mt 5:14, 16). If we are assimilated in the world, we may be consumed along with the tares. But as the sons of the kingdom, separate and different from this world, we are not meant to be cast into the fire along with the tares on the day of judgment. 

Despite the tares present in our daily lives, we should long to be righteous and set apart, shining forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father (Mt 13:43).

Question for Reflection:

What are some areas you need to improve on so as to shine forth the light of God even as you live among tares?

Author: Rebecca Lee