My dad loved to garden and among his very favorite things to grow were turnips. I don’t know if he really liked turnips as a food, but I know he liked to talk about them. He consulted the Farmer’s Almanac on when to plant them. He took great pride in growing them, and he was always trying to pawn them off on people.
As a child I did not care for turnips as a food. I have a childhood memory of turnips being slipped in with the fried potatoes as a means of disguising and getting us Cash kids to eat them. Yuck – what a way to ruin a good batch of fried potatoes! It took only one bite of turnip to turn me into a turnip detective. From that point on I was examining my plate to discern, by appearance and texture, between any remaining turnips and the preferred potatoes.
For me this memory is a “mixture image” – something good mixed in with something not so good. Jesus’ mixture images of the “wheat and the weeds” and “fish in the net” in Matthew 13:24-30, 47-50 have the same texture and meaning. Most of us, like his disciples (represented by the slaves in the parable) would be quick to sort out the weeds from the wheat (turnips from potatoes) at the earliest opportunity. Jesus counsels otherwise – “Wait,” he says “until the harvest, for in pulling out the weeds you will disrupt the wheat.”
This is the fourth such “kingdom image” we will consider in a series of messages at FBC Columbus this coming Sunday, Sept. 25th. We will also throw Matthew 13:33 into the mix – Jesus’ parable of the yeast that is “mixed in” with the flour.
It seems to me that much of life is filled with mixture – good and not so good, welcome and unwelcome, wanted and unwanted. Often we are quick to define who’s “in” and who’s “out” rather than be patient, allow God and grace opportunity to work, and see if perhaps the yeast will in fact leaven the entire mix of flour.
Yes I know, the parables of wheat and fish tell us there will be a judgment; it’s just that it is not our job to judge. God and the angels will do the sorting and judging at the end of the age. Aren’t you glad?