Tales of Tares

“Let both grow together until the harvest.” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 13:30 NIV

Oy, what a world we live in! Just booting up my computer for the day’s work can be depressing. I check my email first. Thank heavens for spam filters, which separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I have it set on the highest setting, but still some garbage sneaks through. Then there are the forwards with the dire warnings of bad luck if I don’t pass them on. Phooey on them all. Once in a blue moon I’ll read one. One day, though, I did.

It was from my brother about jury duty. Seems that some shysters are calling folks, posing as court officials and telling them there’s a warrant out for their arrest because they didn’t report for jury duty. When the innocent party protests that they never even received a summons, the con on the other end tells them he’ll check into it, just give him your Social Security number and date of birth. Sometimes they even ask for a credit card number. Give them the information they want, and the nightmare of identity theft follows. (Check the validity of scams online at snopes.com.)

Then there are headlines, equally depressing. While most of them are about Covid-19 (IMO most are political propaganda to manipulate the public’s opinion of the current administration), once in awhile there’s some real news.

Like the article about the hype in Boston back in 2007. City officials were livid—the article’s word, not mine—over an advertising campaign for a late-night television program. Seems that the broadcasting company put up electronic signs on bridges and other obvious places—thirty-eight in all—of a blinking cartoon character giving passersby an obscene gesture. This led to shutting down highways, bridges, and a section of the Charles River, sending in the bomb squad and costing the city a half a million dollars.

“Commerce was disrupted, transportation routes were paralyzed, residents were stranded and relatives across the nation were in fear for their loved ones in the city of Boston,” said the Boston DA.

The mayor called the ploy an outrageous marketing scheme fueled by corporate greed. Well, yeah, isn’t greed what makes the world go ’round these days?

And, speaking of sickos, you better make sure you have a good antivirus program installed and don’t ever, ever let the subscription run out. Oh, and don’t forget the firewalls to prevent hackers from breaking into your computer files and stealing sensitive financial information.

Then there are the block lists to prevent corporate greed from giving you indigestion at dinnertime, the filth you have to wade through to find a decent program on television, the obscene and offensive t-shirts and bumper stickers. It’s enough to make me want to head for the hills and become a mountain woman.

Jesus warned there’d be times like this. Evil, sad to say, is here to stay, and evildoers aren’t going anywhere, either. Jesus called them tares—actually “darnel,” a weed that looked just like the wheat when it first sprouted. Only as the plants matured did the identity of the good seed and the bad seed become evident.

When you look around, Christian, and it seems that the tares are rampant, don’t despair. Instead, rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12) because, you see, the harvest is coming.

Dear God, sometimes I feel helpless and overwhelmed by the evil in the world around me. Help me to be a sturdy strand of wheat in a field of tares. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43.

From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Contact me @ michelethuey@gmail.com if you would like to use this.

True Beauty

For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. – Jesus, as quoted in Luke 6:45 Berean Study Bible

I don’t remember when I first became aware of my physical appearance and began comparing myself with others. It may have been when I started school. Yeah, that early.

In first grade I wore my hair in braids.

When other girls came to school wearing nicer clothes than I had, my hand-me-downs seemed shabby and cheap.

By the time I was in third grade, my inferiority complex had taken root. That was the year I decided to cut my long, silky, straight hair and get a curly perm like the prettiest girl in class.

Well, what looked nice on her did nothing for me, except make me look like a poodle. I hated it! Lesson: What works for others may not work for you. Know thyself and be thyself.

That was the year I got glasses. Another item on the growing list of things about myself I detested.

And I always had to sit up front because of my hearing loss. I hated it! I was a marked child, labeled forever as “hard-of-hearing.” I despised that phrase! And I loathed myself.

I remember resting my head on my desk, closing my eyes, and envisioning myself in heaven, where I’d see without glasses and hear perfectly well. My hair would be long, straight, and silky once again. And I wouldn’t wear hand-me-downs.

I hid well my inferiority complex throughout my school days. It was only when I got my first job after college and could afford contact lenses and new clothes that I began to blossom.

But those attempts at bettering my physical appearance were rooted in my deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. I didn’t overcome them. I simply changed my outward appearance, hoping to measure up.

But when we’re using the wrong measuring stick, we’re going to get the wrong readings.

Eventually I learned the standard of true beauty isn’t what we see on the outside, but what we are on the inside.

“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him,” God told Samuel the prophet when he went to anoint the next king of Israel. “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV).

What we are on the inside determines our true beauty or lack of it.

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart,” Jesus taught, “and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of ” (Luke 6:45 NIV).

Whatever fills you inside will eventually makes its way outside. It will overflow to do good or harm. It will leak out in unguarded moments.

I like the illustration I recently read about a person balancing a filled-to-the-brim cup. Unfortunately she tripped, and the contents spilled over on whatever was nearby.

What are the contents of your cup?

Love, peace, joy, contentment, compassion . . . these are the good things that will spill out.

But anger, resentment, jealousy, bitterness, hatred . . . these things are like a caustic poison, eating away at your insides and destroying your life and relationships.

You have a choice over what resides inside your heart, mind, and spirit.

Remember the story of the old Cherokee and his grandson?

“There is a battle between two wolves inside us all,” the old man told him. “One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”


“Which wolf wins?” the boy asked.

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

Purify my heart, O Lord. Purge out all that displeases You and replace it with good. Then remind me to feed the right wolf. Amen.

Read and meditate on Luke 6:43–45; 1 Peter 3:3–4.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.