DayBreaks for 7/25/17 – The Wheat, the Tares – and the Line Through the Heart

DayBreaks for 7/25/17: The Wheat, the Tares, and the Line Through the Heart

Matthew 13:24-30 (NLT) – Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

Jesus’ parable about the wheat and tares seems strange. In that parable, the lesson is not to try separate the wheat and tares. In due time, they will be separate by the Judge of all. So, why wouldn’t Jesus want us to go out there are start sorting it all out? I think there are obvious reasons: what we think is a “tare” may in fact be wheat in its early stages. How many of us would have seen Saul of Tarsus (a believer in God, even before his conversion, no doubt) as wheat instead of a tare?

One preacher asked the people at his church to imagine what would happen if they adopted a policy of weed-pulling, drawing a circle around their little town and making a vow that no evil would cross that line, that no weeds would grow within that border. He told them, “You know, you and I could spend the rest of our lives protecting that boundary, standing shoulder to shoulder with pitchforks and clubs, making sure that we kept drugs and alcohol and pornography and gambling safely on the other side. I think it would take all of our energy and most of our time. But what if we did it? What if we succeeded? What would we have? We would have a town characterized by the absence of evil, which is not the same as a town characterized by the presence of good. And maybe this is what Jesus was talking about all along, that it’s better to have a wheat field with weeds in it than a field with nothing in it at all.”
When that church in North Carolina later began a ministry to the children of a nearby trailer park, they had to decide what kind of ministry it would be. They could have chosen to root out all the sources of evil in that place-to chase down the drug dealers and the deadbeat dads, to confiscate handguns and arrest child abusers. Instead, they chose to put up a basketball goal, to tell stories from the Bible, to put their arms around little children, and sing songs about Jesus. And two years after they started that ministry, two years of going out there Saturday after Saturday to do those things, the pastor got a note in his box at church with five words on it: “Adrian wants to be baptized.” Adrian. The terror of the trailer park. That little girl who had made their work most difficult during the previous two years. Who would have guessed?
Instead of pulling weeds in the field where she lived, they just tried hard to BE  wheat themselves, and somehow Adrian saw that and fell in love with it and wanted it for herself. After she was baptized, there was a little more wheat in the field. And because she was there, soon, there was even more.

I know far too many Christians who continually want to cull the field, making decisions on the basis of assumed or real belief, behaviors, attitudes, speech, political stances, etc. One pastor’s wife looked back into her genealogy and traced it back over 500 years. In the process, they that she had a relative who was burned at the stake in Switzerland. Why? Because he had a different understanding of baptism than those who tied him to the stake, that’s why. They weeded him out. Then they burned him up.
As for me, I don’t always know whether I am weed or wheat. I believe it was Alexander Solzhenitsyn who said: If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. That includes my heart and it includes yours, too. For all I know, I may even be the weed in somebody else’s garden. Perhaps in your garden.

If Jesus was content to let the weeds be, why shouldn’t I? He’ll sort it out when the time is right for he is far better qualified to do so than any human.

PRAYER: Forgive me for thinking my answers are all the right ones, that I am in any way qualified to separate the wheat from the tares! Let humility rise within us, Lord, and let us just get about the business of being wheat and not something else that is deceitful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 1/23/17 – Don’t Be Afraid of Things Dying

DayBreaks for 1/23/17: Don’t Be Afraid of Dying Things

John 12:23-24 (NLT) – Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.

We have an aversion to death and dying things. We don’t like to watch anything that is dying. For some people it is so strong that they won’t even visit those who are dying or diagnosed with a deadly disease because it is too uncomfortable. It is my belief that this is innate within us because death is an enemy and adversary. Yet in the verse above, Jesus speaks a universal truth: the death of a single seed that is sown in the ground brings forth an abundant harvest of life.

While losing physical life is hard, there are other things that are perhaps even more painful for a person to “live” through, for example, the loss of dreams. Dreams die hard and they take a toll on us when it happens. But loss of hope is perhaps even more sad and tragic.

Perhaps you find yourself right now having lost a loved one, a spouse, a child, a job, a dream. Perhaps you’ve given up hope as your hope died. I think Jesus would tell you not to be afraid of things dying, because when something dies, new things come to life.

While your hope and dreams may lie shattered right now, take heart for new life and new hopes and new dreams may be just around the corner. A new life awaits you not just in heaven, but while you continue to sojourn here.

PRAYER:  Jesus, loss is hard for us to deal with. Help us to trust in the principle of new life springing from things that have died because you are the one who gives life and as long as you live we have nothing to fear.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/16/14 – The Wheat and the Weeds

DayBreaks for 7/16/14 – The Wheat and the Weeds

Matthew 13:24-30 (NLT) Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

Why is it that we are so judgmental, seemingly so eager to pass judgment and classify people one way or another?  There is perhaps no group of people who are more prone to do this than Christians – and that is tragic.  We seem to often be of the persuasion that it is our job to decipher who is “in” and who is “out”.  We may think it is our duty to protect the rest of the world from evil, to point it out, to call a spade a spade.  We seem to believe that we’ve been given special insight to discern what is wheat and what is a weed – to use the metaphor of the parable.

You know them: people who continually want to cull the field, who feel called upon to make decisions and proclamations about others on the basis of certain beliefs … behaviors … even baptism. A Christian who had a wife that was into tracing family geneaologies traced her family back over 500 years.  In doing so, she learned she had a relative who was burned at the stake in Switzerland. Why? Because he had the wrong understanding of baptism, that’s why. They weeded him out. Then they burned him up.

I must say that I don’t always even know whether I am weed or wheat. Alexander Solzhenitsyn said: “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.

Every human being….that includes my own heart.  Who knows?  Perhaps I am the weed in someone else’s garden – maybe yours. 

If this parable teaches us anything it surely must include that it is not our job to sort the weeds and the wheat.  Jesus will one day sort them out himself and his advice to us to not to try to do that job for him.  Let them grow together, he said, until the harvest.  Then, and only then will the only One who is qualified to separate the weeds and the wheat will do what only He can do.

PRAYER: Forgive us our judgmental spirits, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 05/16/13 – The Sweepings With the Wheat

DayBreaks for 05/16/13 – The Sweepings With the Wheat

NOTE: I am on a missions trip/internship to Africa and will be gone until 5/25.  Please pray for God’s work to go forth mightily, for protection for myself and those with whom I will be working, and for my wife in my absence!  Thank you…I cherish your prayers!  You will be receiving DayBreaks as usual (from the archive) until I’ve returned.

2010july 293Amos 8:6 – “…buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.

This verse from Amos comes in the midst of a series of accusations by the Lord against the northern ten tribes.  God was enumerating the offenses of Israel for which they would be punished by going into enforced exile under the Assyrians.  The greed of the people had become so great that instead of being moved with compassion toward the plight of the needy, that they would make the needy slaves in order so the needy could have shoes instead of just giving them shoes!

But that’s not all.  The Lord goes on to accuse them of “selling even the sweepings with the wheat.”  What does this strange saying mean?  I think it means this: wheat was sold by volume or by weight.  Those who were selling the wheat would sweep it up from the threshing floor and it would include dirt, dust, perhaps even rocks and pebbles.  They didn’t bother to separate the trash from the wheat, and they sold it by weight/volume as if it were all wheat!

I think that there is a real application to our day and age.  As far as most of us are concerned, we don’t sell wheat for a living, so we can’t apply this literally to our lives.  But we can apply the principle.  Any of us who work for someone else are selling something: our time.  We “sell” our time daily in exchange for money.  What I’m wondering is how pure our “time” is.  Are we giving our employers a solid 60 minutes each and every hour of productivity?  If we aren’t, we are like the people in Israel long ago who sold some wheat, but also the trash and sweepings that made it less than a full measure of what was being paid for.

Today you are selling your time for a wage.  How honest are you in your dealing with your employer?  Give full value for what you are paid.  God will be glorified through your work when you present it honestly to your employer and to Him!

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen has started working with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this linke: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.

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DayBreaks for 07/21/11 – Our Task

DayBreaks for 07/21/11 – Our Task

Our task is not to judge...

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. – Ecclesiastes 12:14

One of the most perplexing (and troubling) parables of all is that of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13.  You may recall it: how the wheat grows up and in the middle of the wheat are tares – plants that when they start out look very much like wheat, but which only later is their true nature – that of weeds – is obvious.  There is discussion about whether or not the tares should be pulled up.  Jesus gives a surprising answer: “No, just leave the tares there.  They’ll get sorted out at harvest time.”

Eugene Winkler, in The Ohio Two-Car Collision Theory, wrote the following in a reflection on this parable:

“A biographer of the Duke of Windsor, Alistair Cooke, remarks, “The Duke was at his best when the going was good.” Aren’t we all? Is that true of your faith? We believe in God when things are going well, but give us a few problems, a disappointment or two, and we begin to doubt.

“But the parable is saying to us: God is in charge of the harvest, hang in there, because things will work out in God’s way and in God’s time. Our faith cannot depend just on the good times and good health.

“It just may be that our theology is like that of Woody Allen, who accuses God of being an underachiever. He writes, “I would believe, if only God would give me a clear sign — like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank.”

”Jesus says that the signs are not always clear, especially in the beginning. It is finally not for us to determine God’s will. It is, however, our task to do the right thing as we know it — given our limited perceptions. Jesus himself is the Good News: even the agony of the deception, denial and betrayal of some of his best friends, the wondering if God had forsaken him, and the humiliation of the cross did not keep him from saying finally, “Unto thee I commit my life.”

We may want – even itch – at times to rip up a few “weeds” (people) who we suspect have done us wrong.  But this parable says not to do it.  That’s God’s job.  He will tend to it in judgment.  He will recognize every would-be “wheat” for what it truly is…and he will never make a mistake in judgment.  There will be no tares that sneak their way through the pearly gates.  God will rectify all.

So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41 “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. – Matthew 13:40-43

PRAYER: We are quick to judge ourselves as wheat, Lord, when there are still tares in our lives, too.  Let us bear fruit of righteousness and godliness so that we will not be disappointed!  Help us bear patiently with the tares that hinder the harvest of the Kingdom, knowing that it is Your job to sort through all the hidden and unseen things of the heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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