I read this book to my kids last night and it really hit a nerve with me, mainly because I’ve had a serious case of farmhouse-with-acreage-lust lately.
It’s called Homegrown House, by Janet S. Wong. Just when you think your kids are totally on board with moving from the only home they’ve ever known in order to enjoy a bigger, newer, better house with more yard and more waterfront footage in some other town, this sweet little story will put you right in your place. Your kids don’t give a crap that your dishwasher is low-end. They don’t care if the tile is boring beige or bright orange, and I bet they don’t even notice the bathtub ring that just won’t die. It doesn’t matter to them that layout of your house is all wrong–they just love their cozy little room, with their cozy quilts, and the window that offers sweeping views of the swing set. The kids like knowing that mommy and daddy’s bed is just a quick midnight jaunt down the hallway.
The kids are only in it for the popsicles.
I’m trying to stick my nose in another book, too–the Bible– more often, because it is always useful, of course. But I read something in Matthew chapter 13 the other day that struck me hilarious. Here we have Jesus, trying beyond trying to teach these people. He’s coming up with parables left and right to illustrate his point so that us mere mortals can better understand.
24 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
27“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’
28“‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.
“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.
29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”
Several paragraphs later:
36Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”
(I imagine Jesus, exasperatedly sighs, rolls his eyes):
37 Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. 39The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels.
40 “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. I’m sure it’s not how he meant for it to come out, but it sounds like a diss, right? It’s not. Jesus doesn’t diss people. I don’t know if He ever got aggravated when He had to explain something in kiddie terms over and over, but I’m glad He did it. Jesus was on mission from God, and He had very specific things to tell us. Thanks to the bible, hearing from God is about as complicated as cracking open a book. We don’t have Jesus sitting in front of us, but His words are recorded so that anyone with ears to hear (or eyes to read) can get it.
Wheat, weeds, fiery furnaces. What’s not to understand? And the whole gnashing of teeth sounds freaking scary–not really something I want to be doing for all eternity. Unfortunately I can think of more harm that I’ve done in this life than good. Enter grace: favor from God that we don’t at all deserve.
Grace is the best.
It helps a lot that God has patience with me, especially on those days (or weeks, or months) when I’m just not getting it. The burning desire for a 4-bedroom-house? There are more important things, way more important things. And whether I realize that through studying the bible or reading my kids a bedtime story, God has His ways of getting His point across.