There are two kinds of people in this world: those who bear fruit for God and those who do not. In the parable of the tares, Jesus defines these two types of people as the wheat and the weeds. Even though they are both sown at the same time, God waits until the harvest to separate the two.
What does it mean to be wheat instead of a weed? What does bearing fruit for God look like? Paul tells the Ephesians:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Good works may best be understood as James defines it: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (1:27). The more we do things to honor God and extend the mercy He has shown us to others, the more practically we ensure that we are growing into wheat, the fruit of the harvest, instead of the weeds to be burned when the harvest is done.
Becoming wheat involves a conscious decision every day to do the will of God. Joshua puts it this way:
Now respect the LORD and serve him fully and sincerely. Throw away the gods that your ancestors worshiped on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD. But if you don’t want to serve the LORD, you must choose for yourselves today whom you will serve. (Josh 24:14-15a)
These words were spoken as an entreaty to the Israelites who had conquered the promised land with God’s help. They promptly swore to serve the God who had led their ancestors out of Egypt. But, as the story continues, the people very quickly forget this sincere promise, turning to the very gods they had sworn to Joshua to forget.
How easy it is to become distracted from the promise of heaven by the immediacy of the material things in this life. Just like the Israelites, we too place more importance on things than on our devotion to God. But we don’t have to be that way.
Being wheat instead of a weed can be as simple as having bottles of water to hand to the beggar on the side of the road, spending a few hours each week visiting a nursing home, sending cards to people who are recovering or serving overseas. Being wheat means embracing Jesus’s imperative that we love others as we ourselves wish to be loved.
At first, risking looking stupid by extending a part of ourselves to strangers will be scary. Pray about it. Remember that God promised us that the Holy Spirit will give us words even when we have none. Know that even when we look most stupid in the eyes of the world, we may be shining the brightest in the kingdom of heaven.
James contends that faith without works is a dead faith:
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
If you really believe on a loving God who died to save you, James is saying, then how could you not do good things for other people? How could you not put love first when God’s love for you is your only chance for eternal life?
Extend some living water to those who are thirsty around you. Be wheat.