You probably are familiar with the parable of the wheat and tares found in Matthew 13, where Jesus warns that His true followers are like the wheat of a field whereas others who follow the world and may even appear to the naive as Christ’s followers, but aren’t, are the tares, which is another word for weeds. Wheat and tares grow side by side and look very similar until they are fully mature and ready to be harvested. If the tares are weeded out of the field or world early on, it may cause the wheat not to mature. Therefore, at the end of the age, there will be a harvest. At such a harvest, the tares or weeds will be destroyed from Earth through burning, while the wheat will be stored safely in God’s barn.
Many rose bushes you buy at local home improvement stores and nurseries are grafted onto a hardy, vigorous root stock. If you see a knot at the base of a rose, this is called a “bud union” where the two plants are united. Once planted, below the ground is the hardy root stock. Above the ground is the bush you selected for it’s color, fragrance, disease resistance, etc. Sometimes, what’s known as a “sucker” grows up out of the ground alongside the rose bush you purchased. The sucker is a separate cane that has manifested from the root stock. The sucker often looks similar at first to the rose bush you bought – after all, it is still a rose cane. Eventually, as both the sucker and the intended rose bush develop, the gardener will realize the sucker is indeed a very different bloom than the one they bought. If one is new to rose gardening though, it would be easy to assume the sucker is in fact a normal part of the rose bush until both mature. It is then, one will clearly be able to differentiate the two just like the reapers could in the parable of the wheat and tares. Once the gardener determines the difference, the sucker must be removed.
How about you? Are you a glorious rose in God’s garden or are you a look-alike sucker that will eventually be removed?