A wise, experienced farmer surveyed his new wheat crop, and noticed something dreadfully wrong. There among the young wheat plants were tares, weeds which look deceptively similar to wheat. He knew at once what had happened. This was not a bad batch of seed with two or three imposters in the mix. It was not darnel residue from the planter. No, this was an intentional act, a deliberate effort to sabotage his beautiful wheat crop. Someone had obviously entered the field under cover of darkness, while his workers were asleep, and had planted weeds among the good seeds he had sown. Someone had maliciously hurt him on purpose. “An enemy hath done this.” The fact that such can happen reminded the farmer of some sad realities about true enemies who will stop at nothing to destroy a man and his good crop.
If we are Christians, Satan is our enemy. Many underestimate the vicious, evil nature of Satan. After all, they have seen characterizations of him as a comical character, wearing a red suit and horns. He is a children’s cartoon, isn’t he? Shirley, we should not be scaring the brethren with frightful tales about evil, division, hatred, and strife. Shouldn’t we just lighten up? Such thinking has been the mindset of many in the church for years. They get upset when preachers preach about error, call names, point out clearly the dangerous character of the doctrines all around us.. Never mind that Jesus did precisely these things, and so did the inspired apostles. They say we should be more loving, more tolerant, more accepting if we are ever to win over the denominational friends around us. They have forgotten that Satan is not interested in changing or conforming to the truth. He is not going to be persuaded, no matter how nicely the arguments are put. He is an enemy of God. He is an enemy of God’s people. No wonder that Peter warned: ” Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,” (1 Pet. 5:8).
The common teaching that error in the church should be left alone, and that God will sort it out eventually, is not supported by this parable, and is false. The Lord explained the parable of the tares in Mt. 13:36ff. He did so, not because it was told in adequately, or in an unclear fashion, but because his disciples specifically requested an explanation. He said that the field where the tears were sewn is the world, not the church, (vs. 38). It is wrong to minimize error in the church, or to suggest that it should be left alone for God to sort out later. This parable does not teach that; indeed, it teaches the opposite. Repeatedly, the parable emphasizes the importance of maintaining the purity of the seed, with vigilant awareness of corruption. Paul commanded, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them,” (Eph. 5:11).
Think of what the field would be like without the tares. “An enemy hath done this.” Why? Because he knew that it would drain the world of its happiness, its praise, its childlike purity, its primitive joy, laughter and excitement. No tares mean no tears, no sickness, no sorrow, nothing that resembles sin and it’s evil consequences. Just as the “thorns and thistles” came into the world after sin entered the picture, the tares are an ugly gift from the devil. They are like rotten, spoiled food slipped onto the banquet table at the wedding feast. They were done to create misery, heartache and death. They are attractive, and may be overlooked by the naïve or inexperienced. This makes them all the more dangerous. Think of a garden without weeds! How would it be to never have to pull out the thorns and thistles which relentlessly try to clutter and choke out your beautiful garden? The world without tares is a picture of the church, and ultimately of heaven. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away… and I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband… and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more: the first things are passed away,” (Rev. 21:1-4). The wise farmer wiped a tear from his eye as he looked over his young wheat field, and fully comprehended the damage. He thought wistfully about what an amazing crop this would have been. And he winced in pain. Surely, “an enemy hath done this!”
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.