My father, a meticulous and successful Canadian wheat farmer, used to have my brothers and me join him in what is called "roguing." This involved several of us walking about thirty-five feet abreast the length of a strip of land, weeding the crop—usually of wild oats. We would identify the weed (this alone wasn't easy, since it sometimes closely resembled the crop), carefully uproot it without disturbing the good plants, shake the roots of soil, and put the whole plant into a gunnysack. Later the weeds were burned to prevent germination.

While we did this roguing a few decades ago, the master Christian, Christ Jesus, two millenniums ago had told the parable of the wheat and the tares (see Matt. 13:24–30). In it, he likened the kingdom of heaven to a man who sowed a crop. But while the man slept, an enemy sowed tares among the good seed. When the wheat and the tares sprouted, his servants expressed surprise and asked if they should uproot the weeds. The farmer said to wait, and at harvest they would bundle the tares to be burned and put the wheat into the barn.

Challenges: steppingstones to dominion
February 12, 1996

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