Jesus spoke in parables. Often and constantly. Easily this could be used against Him by the narrow-minded or the interesting selection of the universe which is both not very smart and kind of evil all at the same time.
Regardless, as a teacher, I totally get the purpose of speaking in parables. He’s taking an abstract concept and giving it concrete terms for the purpose of understanding.
Jesus was “user-friendly” 2,000 years before “user-friendly” was even a trend!
And the parables are good and complicated. My personal favorite in chapter thirteen is the one about the weeds:
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[a] among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants[b] of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Matthew 13:24-30).
Obviously, He’s saying repent because the end is near. Don’t be in the bundles of what is thrown into the fire. This was always Jesus’ first century message because the world was pretty rotten—still is actually. But I got something else out of it as well:
There will always be weeds among us. Someone evil planted them in the dark of night when no one was watching. One could argue we are all weeds on some level, and even the best of us create a little havoc periodically. But really we should try and not be a weed.
This is conceivably our entire purpose in the universe: above all else, just don’t be weeds.
Weeds serve absolutely no good purpose, except to symbolize evil in this analogy. It’s amazing how one can become a hundred just over night. And even when pulled, if weeds are not destroyed they will re root themselves wherever thrown.
I’m not joking. Try it. Pull a weed. Leave it in your flower bed. See what happens in a couple of days. It is freaky.
Some weeds are attractive. When I was a kid we’d pick flowering weeds and give them to my mom. She’d smile and thank us for so proudly bringing her weeds, and she’d place them in a jelly jar in water in the same place she’d put the vase of flowers my dad would send her periodically.
He was always trying to compete with our weeds.
Don’t be fooled by pretty weeds. It’s a trick they’ve learned through experience. Attractive on the surface, most of the time they can just be weeds and no one removes them from the metaphorical garden, which is probably one of the biggest problems in our society: we value beauty over, well, everything else.
Another problem for another day, my friends. Above all else just remember not to be weeds, OK?
Uproot YOURSELF in circumstances with weeds. Banish them. Let them hang out in someone else’s garden. Perhaps the garden of another WEED would be lovely. If “we are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20), we don’t have time to fool with the weeds on any level other than removal. And weeds multiply. They suck the life out of whatever is around them. They destroy good fruit, or at minimum, thwart growth potential.
And to close, remember your mind is a garden. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi:
“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.”
This is just a fancy way of saying not to be a weed. And I like it because it is true.