Ready for harvest?

Blue sky, blue sea, warm sunshine. No, not the Mediterranean, but Pembrokeshire. The fields were ready for harvesting, but among the ripened oats I could see false oats standing tall.

 

I was reminded of a parable the Lord Jesus told:

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?”

He said to them, “An enemy has done this.” The servants said to him, “Do you want us then to go and gather them up?”

But he said, “No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30)

I remember once looking up ‘tares’ in a flower book, and wondering how the plants pictured there could cause a problem in a field of wheat. But of course, the tares of Palestine are a completely different plant from the English ones, which are a vetch-like member of the pea family. Lolium temulentum, the Darnel Grass, is remarkably wheat-like as it grows, only really looking different as it matures.

People around us, even in the professing Church, are all either sons of the kingdom of Christ or sons of the wicked one (Matthew 13:38). As C S Lewis wrote, “The most ‘ordinary’ person you will meet today will ultimately be either an ‘immortal horror’ or else an ‘everlasting splendour’.” We, of course, cannot read men’s hearts and can easily be deceived; imitation is a favourite tactic of Satan, a liar from the beginning. Only at the end of the age will all be revealed. Yet there is hope, for all the sons of the kingdom were once sons of the wicked one. One by one they have been saved by grace, through faith, for whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. One by one they can join with all the Lord’s people to give ‘thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.’ (Colossians 1:12-14)

May we be true sons of the kingdom!

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)

 And will the Judge descend?

And must the dead arise?

And not a single soul escape

His all-discerning eyes?

 

How will my heart endure

The terrors of that day,

When earth and heaven before His face

Astonished shrink away?

 

But ere the trumpet shake

The mansions of the dead,

Hark! From the gospel’s cheering sound,

What joyful tidings spread!

 

Ye sinners, seek His grace,

Whose wrath ye cannot bear;

Fly to the shelter of His cross,

And find salvation there!

 

So shall the curse remove

By which the Saviour bled,

And the last aweful day shall pour

His blessings on your head.

 

Philip Doddridge