Thistles Among the Wheat

He told another story. “God’s kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too.

 “The farmhands came to the farmer and said, ‘Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn’t it? Where did these thistles come from?’

 “He answered, ‘Some enemy did this.’ 
“The farmhands asked, ‘Should we weed out the thistles?’

 “He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.'”

Matthew 13:24-30


This scripture might offer a little insight on the questions…

  • Why does a good God allow so much hurt and pain
  • Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people
  • Why does God not abolish sin and things like cancer and sickness

I’m not saying this scripture has the answer but what I am suggesting is that it offers insight. What does that mean? Let’s look at the scripture.

There’s a farmer. The farmer has employees. There is someone who doesn’t like the farmer, maybe a former employee or a jealous neighbor. Either case someone doesn’t like this farmer and shows it by sabotaging his crop of wheat.

When the crop begins to grow his hired hands notice that something isn’t right. Something is growing along with the wheat that isn’t supposed to be there. So they go to the farmer and tell him as well as acknowledging they saw him sew good seed. The seed he planted wasn’t tainted with foreign seeds. It was pure wheat seeds. The farmer must know that someone doesn’t like him by assuming some enemy planted the thistles.

They ask to take care of the chutes before they damage the wheat and the farmer says no. He said to let them continue to grow right along with the good wheat and at harvest time they would be bundled and thrown into the fire.


How does this apply to the previously asked questions and what do we do with this.

It first applies by paralleling the people of the story. The farmer is God. The enemy is Satan. The good seeds is the good in the world and the bad seeds is sin in the world.

Why did God allow the bad seed to thrive with the good seeds instead of pulling them while they were chuting? Why does God allow the sin in the world instead of rooting it up? It’s necessary to not pull up something immaturely. It stood a good chance that had he pulled the thistles up, he would have uprooted the wheat damaging the good crop. If he lets the thistles grow with the wheat, it won’t damage either one and it will allow the wheat (you and I) to mature and no damage is done till the harvest.

So God allows sin to thrive in a world where grace abounds waiting until the harvest to do away with the thistles (sin) knowing that through pain the wheat stands a better chance to mature rather than being killed immaturely by uprooting early.

It’s also good to know that it was not the farmer’s fault the bad seed got thrown in with the good seed. It’s not God’s fault that sin thrives in this world. Can God do something about it? Yes. WIll He? No! Because he knows the damage it could do to the good crop like just previously discussed.

How is it good for us that sin continues rather than be uprooted?

Firstly, it humbles us. Pride says we can do things on our own. Sin shows us we are helpless and need a God that is all-powerful to save us. For this reason is why God waits till we have reached the end of our proverbial rope to step in and save us. Because we are full of ourselves, full of pride, egotistical, and selfish, God can’t work with us because we simply won’t listen. However when we realize we are helpless, incapable, and incompetent, then we are ready to rely on a greater person for help. Sin humbles us!

Secondly, pain matures us. As much as we hate to admit it, pain helps us grow up. We learn from pain. That’s why (in my opinion) it’s a good thing to discipline kids with spanking. It’s the same as a hot stove telling a child don’t touch me or I will burn you, a bee says not to grab me or I will sting, porch steps say walk over me right or I will trip you and you will fall. Pain reminds us of the things we shouldn’t do. It grows us up. It matures us to do the right things.

Thirdly, sin creates suffering which in turn helps us become a better person. Romans 5:3-5 says “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Also  in James 1:2-4 it says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

So I hope through the scriptures you and I both can see that it’s a good thing God doesn’t remove the “thistles” from the wheat immaturely. It does us good; it grows us, it matures us and creates us into a better person. It’s also good to trust and hope in a God that knows better not to prune early, to allow the thistle to motivate the growth of the wheat, to allow suffering to motivate our growth, to allow pain to motivate our maturity.

God is truly good!


About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

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