It was the end of the summer. Instead of our regular walk, I wanted something more exiting. The higher grounds where dirt bikers race would be the ideal place. I had no idea, however, that there would be so many mud puddles in the tracks. My first miscalculation. It truly was an adventure trying to avoid all the mud that we were facing. Sadly, we were unsuccessful, and we were soon walking around with thick layers of mud sticking to the soles of our shoes.
On our return trip I decided on a new strategy. Instead of avoiding the mud, which seemed impossible, I would jump over it. My second miscalculation.
At first I was quite successful, and I soon became overconfident. I was facing a huge mud puddle, but hey, if I could jump over the other obstacles, I sure could do so with this one as well. And I almost succeeded. I only fell slightly short of my goal. Unfortunately it was short enough to send me head over heels into the water. Now my shoes were not the only things that were muddy. My pants and shirt had also joined the ranks, and for some reason, my right hand had two additional holes, both of which were bleeding.
My wife couldn’t help but laugh. I’m sure it was merited!
The lesson I learned was this: don’t jump over muddy puddles!
No, not really. The lesson I really learned was to not become too cocky!
We can also end up cocky when we think we can eliminate the weedy members of our church congregation. When Jesus’ disciples asked, “Do you want us to go and pull them (the weeds) up?” (Matt 13:28, NIV2), He answered: “No, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.” (Matt 13:29, NIV2)
Last time we learned that the evil one cannot resist sending his human agents into places of worship, in order to create doubt and strife. They are the ones who give the church a bad reputation. It would make human sense to weed these out.
Instead Jesus advices, “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” (Matt 13:30, NIV2)
Only at the end of time will the weeds be weeded out, not by human agents, but by God’s angels. But why leave them? Don’t they wreak havoc in our midst?
It’s here where we fall short, a miscalculation of some sort. Who can say with any confidence that these human agents from the evil one himself could not be touched by the love from above? If we weed them out, some would miss the opportunity to know Jesus, and we would become way muddier than when I fell into the mud puddle.
Interestingly enough, Jesus follows this parable with two others, giving credence that God’s kingdom cannot be stopped from growing. I strongly believe that any trouble maker cannot help but be affected by God’s grace.
“He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.'” (Matt 13:31-32, NIV2)
That same mustard seed is also referred as a symbol of the faith that moves mountains (See Matthew 17:20). Do we believe that God cannot reach these weedy individuals? They may be the very ones Jesus doesn’t want to see uprooted, as they truly are not weeds, but wheat! What a blunder we would create!
“He told them still another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.'” (Matt 13:33, NIV2)
Miscalculations can be costly! I had a hard time writing for several days due to my miscalculations, and it could have been even worse.
May we have the same compassion that Jesus displayed when he took Judas under his wing. God cannot help but give every opportunity possible to help us truly experience His grace. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2Pet 3:9, NIV2)
Would you like to join me in jumping over some mud puddles? It’s stupendously fun!
(To access the entire “Kingdom of Power” devotional series, please click here.)