Four Differences Between God and the Devil
#FourDifferencesBetweenGodAndTheDevil is the podcast for July 23, 2017. There are four differences between God and the Devil we learn from the story of the Wheat and the Tares. Are any of these things obvious to you? Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Matthew13 #Wheat #Weeds #Roundup #Passionate #Pursuing #Knocking #Loving #Evil #Tricks #Lies #Father #Loves #Rejection #Resistance
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For The Church of St. Raphael the Archangel, Munster, Indiana, and My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 7/23/2017 The 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 13:24-30.
I can distinctly remember either thinking to myself, or saying through clenched teeth, “We are at WAR!” I was standing at the top of my driveway, looking at all the weeds that had grown up through the cracks. I was holding a bottle of Roundup spray and I was feeling pretty confident. It was a lot of work, even with the Roundup, to get the weeds out.
I can sympathize with the Father in heaven who told the workers not to pull the weeds until the harvest time. Weeds are a pain. They show up before you realize it. They come in abundance. They require more attention than the plants that you want to grow. You had nothing to do with planting them.
When I see a patch of lawn that is covered by weeds, having owned my own home for way too long, I no longer hold the householder responsible. They did not intend for it to look that way.
All of these things are similar to the Kingdom of God, the church, and goodness v. the worldliness of the Devil, the ruining of the church, and evil. Here is how.
The Father in Heaven is relentless. He is planting seed all the time. People are knocking on our door over and over, being sent by the Lord, to invite us to be wheat. Wheat grows, produces grain, gives bread and other food products to the world. The Father is constantly sending people into our lives, or speaking to us within, to say “come, be wheat. I need you for my mission to feed people of the world goodness and honesty, truth and trustworthiness, dependability, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, true justice.” [This is the kind of parish we wish to have here at Saint Raphael’s.]
The Father in heaven works in the daylight, open for all to see. The Gospel is never done in secret. There is no agenda to shaft people. If there is, then we should run the other way. There is no agenda to be famous, rule the world, or engage in self-aggrandizement, self-promotion. No, the intentions are in the open and are for the purpose of setting people free. One of the things I love most about being a Christian is to tell people they are forgiven. I love to remind them that they are no longer under the bondage of the negative narrative that was given to them, under the weight of which they make decisions that hurt them. I cannot tell you how many people approach me and tell me how guilt ridden they feel. I have a seed to plant within them: God forgives you, so you don’t have to feel guilty anymore and you don’t have to continue doing that thing that makes you feel guilty anymore. That is freedom.
If you notice, evil is sewn by someone other than God who doesn’t tell us he is coming, nor does he tell us he wants us to be a weed. Weeds are self-centered plants. They do not give wheat for bread to feed others. Weeds just suck up the nutrients in the field for themselves. God does not plant weeds in our field. As the parable tells us there is an enemy who sows weeds in a field. So, again: He sows in the darkness. He sows selfishness. He sows a plant that robs from the other plants to supplant the will of God.
We often forget that out of respect for our will and intellect, God does not force us to be a weed or wheat. In fact, we often vacillate between acceptance of being a plant for others, resisting God sowing any wheat in us at all, and rejecting God, in other words becoming a weed. Evil exists only as a rejection of what God wants. Evil tells us that we do not deserve love. God shows us he is willing to die so that we know we are loved. Evil does not feed us, but feeds itself. The father is constantly sending people to feed us with the finest wheat, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Yet, because the evil one always sows his weed seed in the darkness, while we are sleeping and not paying attention, we wake up and think: this must be God’s doing. NO. It is not God’s doing. It is the rejection of what God is doing. It is intention to lead you down the wrong path and into the wrong field. It is to lead you away from the plan and path of the Father.
I suppose, it would be easier if God just eliminated our ability to choose, our ability to cooperate with him, and make us all robots who did what he wanted. Yet, if he did that would love really be love? If the one you are married to was forced to choose you, would you feel the specialness of love? Love says, “I choose you.” That is why God is insistent. He is always saying, “I choose you. Even when you resist me and reject me, I choose you.” The evil one, he says, “Choose me. I am going to shaft you in the end, but choose me.” The Father says, “I have already shown you that I love you by choosing to die for you and forgive you.” The evil one says, “Choose me, even though I have sacrificed nothing for you. I will not be responsible for you. When trouble comes, you are on your own. You made the choice.” The Father says, “I have counted the hairs on your head. You are mine. I love you. I will be with you in the darkest vallies.” Evil says, “You have made the choice. You messed up.” The Father says, “I have made the choice. I will help you and we will make it right.”
One important thing I must say about this parable is this: God lets the weeds and the wheat live together. There is danger that the weeds will infect the wheat, but there is also the opportunity for the wheat to change the weeds. I, for one, am very happy that the Father doesn’t just zap us when we reject his desire for us. It is a sign of his mercy. The evil one? He kicks us when we are down to remind us how stupid we are.
So, as I stood at the top of my drive way, I knew I was at war. The evil would be unrelenting and the good would require a cooperative effort between myself and Roundup. Such is the way of the Kingdom of God. Yet, I must tell you, there will be a day when the restoration will be complete. The evil will be eliminated. We will be with the Lord. He will be our God and we will be his people. Again, evil will be no more. Until that day, we are on a mission to convert the weeds to wheat and to be a field that grows the Father’s food for the hungry. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2017.
Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian