Wheat Among Tares

If you’ve ever been ignored or even ridiculed because of your sincere desire to do good, you might benefit from remembering the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. Here is a summary of the parable, which appears in Matthew 13:24-30:

A good man planted wheat seeds in his field. In the middle of the night, an enemy came and planted tares (weeds) among the wheat. As the plants began to grow, the employees of the farmer noticed the tares and wanted to pull them up. But the farmer knew that the young wheat plants might be damaged in the process, so he instructed them to leave all of the plants in place until they were fully grown. At harvest time, they would separate the wheat from the tares.

Shortly after giving this parable, Jesus provided an interpretation for His disciples. (See Matthew 13:36-43.) He is the farmer. The devil is the enemy. The wheat and tares represent people, some of whom follow Jesus and some of whom follow the devil. The harvest is the Final Judgment, when the righteous will be separated from the wicked. Jesus ends this interpretation on a decidedly positive note: “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43).

The prophet Alma uses similar imagery to describe the joy of the resurrection and the separation of the wicked from the righteous. “The soul shall be restored to the body, and the soul,” he said. “And then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of God. But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness” (Alma 40:23-26).

In December 1832, the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith more information about this parable. The employees of the farmer are the apostles. The nighttime represents the apostasy. As the plants are beginning to grow in our day, the Lord is holding back His angels from stopping the evil in the world because He wants to give us a chance to grow. “Pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender,” He tells them. Then speaking to us, He explains, “For verily your faith is weak.” (Doctrine and Covenants 86:6).

Elder Neil A. Andersen said:

You may at times not feel like a strong, mature strand of wheat. Be patient with yourself! The Lord said that the wheat would include tender blades springing up. We are all His Latter-day Saints, and although not yet all we want to be, we are serious in our desire to be His true disciples.

Drawing Closer to the Savior,” General Conference, October 2022

Elder Andersen suggested three ways to continue to grow even when we are surrounded by evil influences:

  1. “Immerse ourselves in the life of Jesus.”
  2. “Make covenants with the Lord.”
  3. “Safeguard the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Today, I will strive to deepen my roots and to grow closer to the Savior. I will remember that we are surrounded by both good and evil influences temporarily for our own benefit, to give us time to grow. I will look forward to the day when good and evil will be separated, and when the righteous will “shine forth in the kingdom of God.”

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