While they were asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat.’ (Matt 13:25)
The dictionary says a weed is a wild plant growing where it’s not wanted. On that basis weeds are not in short supply here at the rectory. Some weeds are obvious, but over the years I have weeded too many plants that should have been left alone, and vice versa; one reason Mary does most of the weeding.
One of the joys of moving house is inheriting someone else’s garden. The first year or so is spent carefully watching what comes up. What has been sown, what has self-sown, what’s wanted and what isn’t. Weeds there are a plenty. Some are obvious, others not so. Clearing back the undergrowth and tree canopy created new opportunities for plants we suspect had long lain dormant. Even now, after 6 years, plants pop up in unexpected places. Weeds they may be but the flowers look cheerful, the pollinators love them, they are, unbidden by us, serving the community of life which is our garden. They are left in peace to serve their purpose. The tidy-minded temptation to remove weeds remains but I have become more tolerant of them.
Jesus once told the story of a farmer whose crop was sabotaged by an enemy sowing poisonous weeds. Keen to keep the crop pure the farm workers were eager to get weeding but the farmer stopped them. ‘At this early stage’, he said, ‘you are likely to pull up good plants as well as weeds. Wait’ (Matt 13:29). Jesus’ crops and weeds were people; the challenge his disciples faced was how to react to people who heard the Word of God, but didn’t get it as they did. Concerned that we, our friends and family may be led astray by false truths we are all tempted to go weeding. ‘Stop’ says Jesus, ‘Where you see weeds my father may still see healthy wheat. – leave the weeding to God. To quote one commentator ‘For a world with so many conflicts …. The message of patient tolerance … is timely’ . As St Paul wrote (Rom 14:4) ‘Who are we to cast judgement on another’s servant’ We all need to leave space for a few wild flowers, they are not all weeds, who knows what blessings they may bring.
 [Daniel Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew (p210)].