Sorting the wheat from the weeds

“[Jesus] put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So, when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.”(Matthew 13:24-26)

Thus begins the ‘Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds’. That’s what I’m calling it anyway. It’s not a parable with a well-established title like The Parable of the Sower or The Lost Sheep or The Prodigal Son. Indeed, you may never have heard of this one as it’s not popular. Few people remember or retell this story, and I’ve never seen any children’s book featuring an illustrated version. Is it just that the storyline isn’t memorable, or could it be that this is a teaching many of us prefer to forget?

The plot is straightforward. A farmer sows a crop of wheat, but ‘an enemy’ sows weeds in the same field, resulting in wheat and weeds growing up alongside each other. The farm workers see what has happened and suggest to the boss that they rip up the weeds, but the farmer stops them:

“But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.” (Matthew 13:29)

The farmer’s solution is to let everything go for a while. Come harvest time, the difference between the wheat and the weeds will be more obvious and then the weeds can be properly dealt with.

This parable is not difficult to interpret. Interestingly though, the disciples seem bamboozled by it. History suggests that the church likewise has never understood it, and this despite the fact that Jesus gives it a very clear explanation.

Jesus says it’s a story about the ‘end of the age’ (Matthew 13:39) when God will judge between people in the same way a farmer might separate wheat from weeds. Until that day comes though, the farmer’s servants must not try to root out the weeds from amidst the wheat as they can’t tell the difference between the two. There’s clearly no room for any inquisition nor any pious attempt to separate the good from the bad and the ugly this side of Heaven. No wonder this story is unpopular!

I don’t think we need to go back to the days of the Spanish Inquisition to see pious Christians doing exactly what Jesus here tells us not to do. Indeed, I see it going on around me now. A good example, to my mind, lies in the controversy over the ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ events that were being held in public libraries.

I think it unquestionable that parents and citizens are entitled to raise concerns about events that target their children. Such questioning though should never have been an attack on the broader LGBTIQ+ community. Somehow it became that.

Did members of the LGBTIQ+ community respond defensively when they didn’t need to or was it that parents and conservatives started blaming everyone in the LGBTIQ+ community for an initiative that most gay and lesbian people had nothing to do with? I suspect there were problems on both sides. Either way, what I see now is a host of well-meaning people blaming the entire LGBTIQ+ community for the sexualisation of our children. This is not only foolish and counterproductive. It’s also an obvious dismissal of the teaching of this parable of the Wheat and the Weeds.

The servants of the farmer need to accept that they can’t really tell the difference between wheat and weeds at this stage. We think we know the difference but it’s more complicated than we think. Yes, plenty of weeds have been sown in amongst the wheat. Conversely though, there’s also plenty of wheat to be found tangled in amongst the weeds! ‘Be patient’, says the farmer, who is in it for the long game. The day will come when it will all be obvious. In the meantime, we need to be careful in our reform efforts lest we end up doing more harm than good.

As I often say, every complex problem has a simple answer and it’s always the wrong answer. We want things to be straightforward and obvious so that we can resolve our problems quickly. We need to learn from the farmer in the parable that these things take time. We need to be in it for the long game. “Let anyone with ears listen!” (Matthew 13:43)

Our Sunday Eucharist

We had another very special Sunday Eucharist last weekend. A big thank you to Karyn Hemming and Rob Gilland for joining me on the panel.

This week we have brothers Doug Pyeatt and Andrew Madry joining me live, with Father Elias Leyds sharing another spectacular pre-recorded homily. Tune in from around 11.45 am on Sunday via or via Facebook , YouTubeTwitter or LinkedIn.

Let me work your corner

Thank you once again to all of you who support Fighting Fathers Ministries through your prayers and through monthly financial contributions. If you’re not contributing financially and you can afford to, it would be greatly appreciated if you could go to and sign up to either:

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What’s On?

Unfortunately, as I feared, I am now NOT fighting this Friday night. This is very disappointing to me, not only because it robs me of an expected source of income but more so because it throws my future as a boxer into serious doubt. I need to get a fight soon if I am going to continue in the game at all. If there’s anyone out there who can get me a fight, I’m happy to take you on as my manager.

On the positive side, this means I will be back at Binacrombi next weekend. Take the opportunity to join me if you can for a couple of days of fun, fitness and fellowship.

You’ll notice above that I’ve included on the calendar a rally in support of the most recent Australian under threat of extradition to the US – Dan Duggan. Duggan fought with the US Marines in Afghanistan but has been an Australian citizen now for some years. He’s been in solitary confinement in Lithgow prison since last year though he hasn’t been charged with anything! Duggan is awaiting possible extradition to the US where he claims he will not receive a fair trial. You can read about his case on Wikipedia or through various articles on the Citizen Electoral Council website.

Another disturbing legal case that has just come to my attention involves our friend, Joel Jammal. Apparently, Joel is being sued for deformation by an Australian politician. He’s going to need the support of his friends to fight the charges. I’m including a vide below of Joel sharing about his situation. If you’d like to give support to Joel’s legal fund, click here.

Let me end on a lighter note by sharing the latest blog post on our Fighting Fathers member site. It’s a video with a transcription of Father Elias sharing his wisdom on the raising of Lazarus.

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

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