Do you sleep when the Wind Blows
"I can sleep when the Wind Blows"
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
24 ¶ Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.
26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.
27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ’Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ’An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ’Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ’No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’" 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." 37 He answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
A young man applied for a job as a farmhand. When the farmer asked for his qualifications, he said, "I can sleep when the wind blows." This puzzled the farmer. But he liked the young man, and hired him.
A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The young man slept soundly.
The farmer and his wife then inspected their property. They found that the farm tools had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements. The barn was properly locked. Even the animals were calm. All was well.
The farmer then understood the meaning of the young man’s words, "I can sleep when the wind blows." Because the farmhand did his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke. So when the wind blew, he was not afraid. He could sleep in peace.
There was nothing dramatic or sensational in the young boy’s preparations; he just faithfully did what was needed each day. Consequently, peace was his, even in a storm.
Our gospel lesson speaks to this kind of preparation, daily living our faith.
Our gospel text concerns the difference between weeds and wheat in a field. Jesus tells a parable about farmer who sowed some wheat seeds into his field. Everything was going well, until one day his servants noticed that some weeds which looked just like the wheat were growing up in the field also. They ran to the owner and asked him about the kinds of seeds that he used. He said that an enemy has sown the bad seed in his field and that he had used good seed. Then the servants, being eager to make the field look good again, asked if they should go and pull out the weeds. But the master says no, because until the weeds and the wheat ripen no one could really tell them apart and they might disturb the good wheat along with trying to pull up the weeds.
He tells them that they should leave the fields alone, and then when the wheat is ready for harvest, the weeds will have bloomed also, and one could tell the difference. Then the harvesters could come and pull out the weeds and burn them, and gather the harvest of wheat next.
Jesus then explains the parable by saying that the sower or the master is the Son of God, the field is the world, and the good seed are the sons or people of the kingdom of God and the bad seeds or the weeds are the sons of the evil one or the devil who sowed them into the field. Jesus then says that you cannot tell the difference between these two groups of people, but when the close of the age comes, and the harvest of the world is ready, then the angels will separate the evil ones from tile righteous ones. The evil ones will be burned and the righteous people will live with him for eternity.
I can sleep when the wind is blowing is a slogan that fits the story of our gospel text. This text asks us to judge our own faith life. Not our neighbors, but our own faith life.
This parable was not told so that we might go around and judge others and decide who is a weed and who is a wheat. Jesus says loud and clear that is his responsibility, it is the function of the Father and his angels. But the parable is for one to take a close look at his or her life with the understanding that one can judge ones own heart and then repent and bear good fruit. So today, we don’t want you to look at your neighbor and say, well, pastor is really talking about you. Today’s sermon is addressed to each of us individually. It is a time to look at ones own sins, at the way one conducts ones own life, and then make a decision about repentance for your own life and turning around and bearing fruit for Jesus.
Our gospel lesson is asking us whether we are secure in our faith life? Secure in the knowledge that one day a judgment will happen and then will the harvester regard you as a wheat or a weed?
Can you answer, that I can sleep when the wind is blowing? Are you prepared? Have you put your house in order?
Jesus is asking us to look inside and see our own life. He is telling us that the wheat and weeds look alike till the time of the harvest. By looking at the outside, we cannot tell about one’s faith life. But we must look inside ourselves. Not our neighbor’s faith life, because we cannot tell the difference between the wheat and the weeds, but inside our selves.
One time during the Lenten Season. a pastor was walking through his church on Wednesday, the day of the Lenten services, and met a lady laden down with all sorts of bundles that bore the markings of the best stores in the Loop area, and he assumed that she had come for worship. But. instead she said. "Oh, pastor, I’m quite embarrassed. Really, I just stopped in here to use your rest room, and I guess I’m lost. I wonder if you could direct me?’’
Well, the pastor met the emergency by escorting her to the nearest place of relief, but then mused. "Yes. I was supposed to, as a pastor, save the lost. But was this what the church had become a mad dash; a comfort station for humanity, for stranded shoppers?’’ Maybe that’s all it is about?
But is it? Is the church just a rest area on the road of life? Or is it the place to come to reflect on one’s life? One’s preparation?
I think here in the church is the place where one comes to confront one preparedness as you decide if you are ready for the end of time.
Can you sleep when the wind blows? Have you repented so that when the judgment comes, the harvester will see you as wheat and not a weed?
The following story speaks about what true repentance is all about.
Two little boys were playing together one afternoon. They had not been playing long when the larger boy took advantage of his weaker playmate. Georgie, the smaller one, too proud to complain, withdrew some distance and sat by himself, manfully winking back the ready tears.
After a short time, the larger boy grew tired of his solitary play and called, "Say, Georgie, come back. I’m sorry."
Georgie, warned by previous experience, did not respond to the invitation at once.
"Yes," he replied cautiously, "but what kind of sorry? The kind so you won’t do it again?"
"but what kind of sorry? The kind so you won’t do it again?"
As you get your life in order so that you can say I can sleep when the wind blows, can you answer the little boy’s question, "but what kind of sorry? The kind so you won’t do it again?"
If we are serious about our repentance, we need the kind of sorry that you won’t do it again. And the only way that kind of repentance works is if we let Christ’s forgiving power come into our lives.
Perhaps the best and simplest definition of "repentance" I’ve read comes from Richard Jensen in Touched by the Spirit. He also relates it to baptism.
"The daily baptismal experience has many names. It may be called repentance . Unfortunately, repentance is often understood as an "I can" experience. "I am sorry for my sins. I can do better. I can please you, God." So often we interpret repentance as our way of turning to God. That cannot be. Christianity is not about an individual turning to God. Christianity is about God turning to us.
"In repenting, therefore, we ask the God who has turned towards us, buried us in baptism and raised us to new life, to continue his work of putting us to death. Repentance is an "I can’t" experience. To repent is to volunteer for death. Repentance asks that the "death of self" which God began to work in us in baptism continue to this day. The repentant person comes before God saying, "I can’t do it myself, God. Kill me and give me new life. You buried me in baptism. Bury me again today. Raise me to a new life." That is the language of repentance. Repentance is a daily experience that renews our baptism. "[p. 49]
So as we become people who can sleep when the wind blows, we come to Christ daily asking for forgiveness and are drown in the waters of baptism and raised to a new life. This process happens over and over again.
As we are raised to a new life in Christ, then we are asked to bring forth fruit. Fruit can be many things in our life. We can reach out to the lonely, the grieving, the hungry, the imprisoned, the sick and we could go on and on.
One way to reach out is described in this closing story:
I would like to tell you a story about how a little girl helped the neighbor bully change his ways. The bully’s name was Todd, his parents were divorced and he was left to fend for himself. He’s rude and for an 8 year old he can swear pretty good. When he comes over to Heidi’s house the quiet surrounding can turn quickly into chaos with fighting, crying and disobeying rules. But Heidi didn’t cut Todd out from her circle of friends. Instead, if Todd swore, she told him it was wrong. God didn’t like that. If he started a fight, she told him he’d have to go home. And on Sunday morning, she would collect 2 children’s bulletins and 2 Bible in life pictures and she takes one set of each to Todd. She’s even taken him to Bible School.
Heidi has not weeded out the bully. And Todd tries hard to be good. He’s more joyous now, more alert and he plays wells. He has more fun playing that fighting. He and Heidi have even talked about Jesus and Bible stories. Todd needed some help with his repentance. He needed someone who was willing to care or him, not in a judgmental way, but in a loving caring way. Todd is less of a weed now among the children on his street. Thanks be to God who continues to cultivate, to green the harvest.
Can you sleep when the wind blows?