I have always heard the phrase, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” Maybe you have too? A couple years ago, I learned from where it was derived. Years ago when getting water wasn’t as easy as turning the faucet handle, the family would use the same water on bath night. Yuck!! The baby was the last to get washed. So when the dirty water was tossed out the door, you get the idea. Today we use the phrase to highlight the importance of not tossing aside what is valuable when discarding the unwanted.
I think this relates to the parable comparing the kingdom of heaven to a farmer planting wheat. Good seed was used but weeds (planted by the enemy) came up with the wheat. The workers wanted to pull out the weeds but the the farmer stopped them. In the hurry to yank out the weeds, wheat would be pulled out as well. Better to wait when the harvest comes and then sort the weeds out.
We have a lot to learn from Jesus’ parable. We are divided as a people. We argue (and much worse) over something as simple as the wearing of masks. The thought of labelling “those people” as a bunch of “weeds” could be a mild characterization of what we really think about them. This is what Jesus was warning about because of the damage and harm that could be done. We need to understand our place.
Jesus is the farmer planting the good seed. The world is the field. The angels do the sorting at harvest time. Notice, we don’t do the sorting, the judging or the reaping. Our judgment is too tainted by prejudice. Our evaluations are insufficient for the purpose. The risk of harming each other is too high. Those who a part of the kingdom of heaven are simply too valuable to be tossed aside in our rush for human standards for righteousness.
Here the good news gets to be heard. We aren’t judged by others but in the mercy of Christ. Such mercy comes in a love expressed on a cross. This kind of mercy allows life to grow in the world even among the weeds.
The world is divided and we are a part of the problem. Yet with the mercy of Christ, the kingdom of heaven does bring life to its fullest. Remember we live by grace. Something for us all to be thankful. So the next time one of those “weeds” are spotted keep in mind the phrase, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
We need a break. Not the moment to relax and get through the stresses of another busy day but a break from Revelation. The previous chapter is a difficult read. The Lamb opens the seven seals. We read of God’s wrath. The four horsemen riding horses colored white, red, black and pale bring war, famine, plague and death. A vision of the slaughtered martyrs. An earthquake and the sun turning black and the moon blood red. The people of earth from the greatest to the least call on the mountains to fall on them rather than face the wrath of the Lamb. Then there is a break.
The 144000 (representing the church on earth) is sealed. Then we have this reading from Revelation of a multitude from every tribe and nation shouting praise to God and to the Lamb. They have passed through the great tribulation.
Revelation is a calling for the followers of Christ to be faithful and this will not be easy. Jesus stood before Pilate and declared that his Kingdom was not from here. Pilate showed what the kingdoms from here do and that is crucify. Jesus showed what his kingdom does which is very different and still causes ugly debate today.
Jesus fed the hungry. In this country, we throw away nearly 40% of our food but can’t find ways to feed the hungry.
Jesus reached out to the outcast. Bring up gay, lesbian, immigrant, etc. and be prepared for a tough discussion.
Jesus healed the sick. Want to talk about healthcare? The debate will go on and on and on.
Jesus said that his kingdom is not from here. He is so true. To follow Christ, is to walk down the path of a different kingdom. The result can be persecution ranging from mild to martyrdom. This is the tribulation. We return to the multitude before God and the Lamb in Revelation.
The multitude will be before God and his protection will cover over them. Christ, the Lamb, will be a shepherd leading them to living water. There will be no more hunger or thirst or beating sun. The hand of God will wipe away the tears from our eyes.
So we take a break from the judgments of the Lamb against the world. The next chapter will have the judgments resume. For the moment, there is a much needed break. The faithful in heaven and earth will be protected from the judgments. They come to the reign of God where the tears of the struggle will be no more.