Lessons on Zealous Living Learned in the Garden Part Three Lessons learned from weeds.

Lessons on Zealous Living Learned in the Garden! Part 3

Written by: M. Wayne Sullivan



Time to read: 14 min

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Part Three: Lessons Learned In the Garden from Weeds

Wow! Great job! Your garden is all ready to go. You've been learning many lessons as you cultivated the soil and sowed your seeds. Now you and your family can rest peacefully as you trust God to help them germinate and sprout through the soil.

‌What would you think and do if your jealous neighbor came in the middle of the night while you were sleeping and sowed a bunch of weed seeds all over your garden? What’s worse is you probably couldn’t notice them until your plants were a good bit grown.

What would you do? What lessons on zealous living can you learn and teach from the Parable of the Weeds? the sowing of the seeds? In case you missed it, in our last article we discussed Lessons from sowing seeds. The first article in this series dealt with lessons learned from cultivating our soil. 

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Lessons on Zealous Living from Weeds | 1. Weeds Happen!

Gardening would be so much easier without weeds. But, if you have done much gardening, you know that weeds normally come with the territory. If you plant a garden, weeds will surely develop and grow. It is a given. Keeping a weed-free garden takes a lot of work, but you can normally pull the weeds and clean them away from your garden plants.

Certainly, sweat, blood, and tears, along with a good deal of elbow grease, will rid your garden of those pesky weeds for a while. Remember, part of the curse God placed upon humanity for our sinful rebellion is thorns and thistles, also known as weeds. While weeds can make us a little frazzled, they can also remind us of God's gracious love! Remember the honey Bees love the weeds!

17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:17–19 (ESV)

Lessons on Zealous Living from Weeds | 2. A Complex Entanglement!

So in your garden, you cultivate it enough to eat from it, but it requires a lot of work. But what if you were raising wheat instead of beans, corn, collards, and tomatoes? If so, you would need to spread wheat much closer together and broadly about. Now, we can tolerate some weeds that slip in, but not an abundance covering the entire field.

‌However, what would you do if your jealous neighbor filled the entire field with weeds? Can you simply pull them out by hand and care for your crop? Of course not! The roots of the wheat would become entangled with the weed’s roots. To remove them would be to uproot the good along with the bad. You’d be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So what do you do?

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‌Jesus’ Lesson on Weeds

Jesus told a parable that uses weeds among the wheat to teach us a few great lessons about life in His Kingdom plan lived according to His sovereign will. In Matthew 13, shortly after the Parable of the Sower, Jesus gives us the Parable of the Weeds.

The Parable of the Weeds

Matthew 13:24-30

24 “He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.

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Lessons on Zealous Living from Weeds | 3. A Simple, Yet Weighty Solution!

The scenario presented above is the same scenario found in this parable. However, this parable is comparing that scenario in our garden to the Kingdom of Heaven. The agricultural lesson that Jesus gives us to solve the problem is the same solution we need in our world today as we live in a culture that is full of darkness and sin.

‌When the servants came to the Master and reported that the field was full of weeds, they asked Him if He was sure that the seed He used was a good quality seed. Immediately, the Master knew the cause of the problem. His enemy had come and sowed the weeds in the darkness of night while they were resting.

N‌ext, the servants asked their Master if they should go out and gather the weeds and clean up the field. The Master’s response was to leave them be and let them grow together until harvest. Removing the weeds now would destroy the wheat along with the weeds. At harvest, the Master’s reapers would gather the weeds and bind them into bundles to be burned, then they could gather the wheat safely into the barn. It would take more work, but it would save the wheat.

‌Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with the Kingdom of heaven. If so, then you are in good company. The disciples didn’t understand it when they heard it, either. After Jesus finished teaching, they left the crowds and returned to the house where they were staying. The bewildered disciples came to Jesus in private and asked Him to help them understand the parable. The disciples give us an excellent lesson here. When we don’t understand something, we should find someone who can help us understand. So Jesus explained to them the parable in Matthew 13:36-43.

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

Matthew 13:36-43

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.

Lessons on Zealous Living from Weeds | 4. Understanding the Parable of the Weeds!

In relation to the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus used various allegories to compare things of our world with the realities of the Kingdom of God.

  • The Master Farmer, who sowed good seed, was Jesus.
  • ‌The field represents the world. (Many often present it as the church, but that is not correct)
  • ‌The good seed is those who will trust in Christ and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. By extension, as seed produces more seed, those who are in Christ will reproduce others who will trust in Christ through discipleship.
  • ‌The weeds are those who remain in sin and continue to walk in darkness, ignorance, and evil. They are children of the evil one.
  • ‌The enemy who sowed the weeds is the evil one, who we call the Devil or Satan.
  • ‌The harvest represents the end of the age and the final judgment.
  • ‌The reapers are the army of angels who gather up and bundle the evil ones to be burned in God’s fiery furnace of Hell. Then they will gather the children of God, those whose righteousness we find in Christ, and they will shine like the sun for eternity in the Kingdom of God.

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What else can we learn from the lessons on weeds?

1. God is sovereign over His creation, and we can trust Him to be wise when we are not.

A‌ren’t we are a lot like the servants? We don’t really know what to do amid a culture overrun with weeds. So Jesus tells us what to do, and we should trust Him. Sometimes we might want to see the weeds totally annihilated, like the disciples did at times. Remember when a village of Samaritans did not receive Jesus? Do you remember what James and John, the “Sons of Thunder,” asked Jesus?

54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Luke 9:54 (ESV) 

Understand, they had a misplaced zeal and didn’t truly understand the Kingdom of God. Their solution to the seeds sowed by the evil one was to ask God to send down fire from heaven and consume those weeds. Of course, Jesus rebuked them for their wrong-headed thinking. So we have to be patient and trust in God’s plan. Remember, we can’t always tell the difference between the good seeds and the weeds. We aren’t the judge.

‌Opposed to our impatience, Jesus is patient and willing to wait and let the fruit seen in the harvest be the ultimate arbiter. Those who are His wheat will produce the fruit of confession and repentance and trust in Christ's forgiveness. Those who don’t are the weeds. We should be grateful for God’s patience toward us all. 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us that,

9 "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

God’s will is for all to repent of our sinful rebellion against Him and return to Him by faith in Jesus Christ. But God, in His Holiness, will not permit rebellion in His midst, but for a time. Just as God cast Satan from His presence because of his rebellion. God will cast out anyone who doesn’t accept His sacrificial peace offering to provide atonement and forgiveness of sin. So the next lesson we learn is that while God is patient…

2. God will only allow the weeds to grow until harvest, at which point He will cut them down and cast them into the fiery furnace.

41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 13:41-43 (ESV) 

Jesus didn’t mince words, all those who persist in sin are evil weeds that require banishment from His eternal presence. God guarantees the evil sinner the reward of a painful, permanent, and eternal punishment. There will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Those who have ears, let them hear.

3. God will keep His covenant promise! He will bring all those who are safe in Christ into his barns to enjoy His glorious presence forever.

What a glorious thought! We will suffer, work, sweat, and toil here for a little while, but one day, we will find eternal rest for our soul in the presence of God forever. The temptation certainly exists to find an easy way as we coexist in a culture of sin and decadence, but we must not allow that temptation to overtake us.

13 "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

We must keep trusting in God’s provision on our behalf. Like the wheat crop surrounded by weeds, we must look to the Son, and allow all the processes He has put in place to do their work.

‌By trusting in His Holy Spirit, let us teach ourselves and our families the trust in God. May we grow deep roots together in the soil God has prepared! Roots that can tap into the nutrients of God’s Word. The only Word that will cause us to grow and bear the fruit of righteousness as we are being conformed to the likeness of our Master Farmer.

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Join our Zealous Nation! Let’s begin to offer up a collective prayerful appeal for Christian zeal to begin to permeate our lives, our families, and our churches.

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In our next post, PART 4 of this series, we are going to dive into lessons on Zealous Living that we can learn from the weather. If you want to begin igniting a stunning Christian zeal for your sensational journey, then be sure to check out our future posts. Until next time, live zealously for Christ!

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Recommended Reading On Christian Zeal and Revitalization

Recommended Reading On Christian Zeal and Revitalization

Further Readings

Living Zealously, by Joel R. Beeke and James A. La Bekke

Zeal Without Burnout, by Christopher Ash

→ Zealous for Good Works, by Todd A. Wilson

→ Flickering Lamps, by Henry & Richard Blackaby

→ Reclaiming Glory: Updated Editionby Mark Clifton

Founder & Editor at ZealousHomes, LLC.

M. Wayne Sullivan, M.Div.

Hey there! I am the Founder here at ZealousHomes. I am a deeply blessed with a loving wife, Crystal, and our two cherished daughters. I have served in Christian ministry for over 26 years and currently serves as the pastor of not one, but two great churches: Zealous Church and Lighthouse Baptist Church. I also serve as the host on our ZealousHomes Podcast. I love spending time with my family, reading with a cup of coffee, photography, graphic design, and writing articles that will benefit my brothers and sisters in Christ! 

Through ZealousHomes, my vision is to glorify Jesus Christ by living zealously for Him. Though I'm far from perfect, I aspire to inspire others to embrace their own spiritual journey with zeal and fervor. Join me as we navigate life's challenges and triumphs, all while striving to ignite a stunning zeal of faith in the hearts of many who endeavor to venture on the sensational journey of following Jesus Christ.

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