New Perspective on Wheat and Tares

Wheat and taresWhat if the story of the wheat and tares, (Mt. 13), has more application than the one we’re familiar with? What if it also applies to our response when, as Christians, we hear a word from God? Is it possible that when we read something in God’s word (logos) or hear a personal word from God (rhema), that word could land beside the road, on rocky soil or amidst thorns? Does God’s Word always land on good soil and become fruitful just because we’re Christians?

Luke 8:18 exhorts us to take care how we listen. What does it mean to listen with care? In verse 21, Jesus says that His “…mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” That would indicate that if we are listening with care, we are heeding God’s word and responding. Matthew 8:16 says that our ears are blessed when we hear. Perhaps the blessing is that we will hear even more from God if we heed what He speaks to us today. After all, why would God continue to speak into our lives if we ignore what He says and never follow up? Isn’t hearing God’s voice like seed being planted?

Here’s something to consider about wheat and tares. When we lived in Kansas, beautiful golden wheat fields blew in the wind. Kansas has been known as part of America’s breadbasket because they supply much of the wheat that makes the bread for our daily table. Bread, a household staple, the fruit of a good wheat crop. In a spiritual sense, we like to associate ourselves with wheat.

But what about tares? Tares, also known as darnel, are “false” wheat. While growing together in a field, they look the same. For some, it’s hard to tell them apart, but at harvest time, wheat turns golden brown while darnel turns black. Over thirty year’s time, 250,000 sheep and 600 cattle died from consuming darnel. Here are some of the symptoms they exhibited: sleepiness, intoxication, trembling, inability to walk, apathy, and dim sightedness.

It makes me wonder…what are we consuming as the body of Christ? Wheat or darnel? Have we become sleepy and apathetic about hearing God’s voice? Surely, at times, we all have, but the good news is that we have the Holy Spirit, who is our Helper, living in us. And that’s not all. Jesus, Himself promised that this Holy Spirit would teach us all things and even remind us of all Jesus spoke to us (John 14:26). Our part is to simply listen with care, respond, and enjoy the fruitfulness God pours into our lives as we choose to be good soil.


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