Once there was a king who announced that he was looking for someone to be in charge of his vast treasure. Many people gathered in the palace to apply for this noble position, and the king led them all to a pond. The king said, “Whoever drains all the water from this pond, using only this bucket, will be chosen for the post. But I have to tell you, this bucket has a hole in it.” Well, some people saw that and left without a single try. Some people tried for a little while, and then said, “Ahh, the king has probably already chosen someone. Let’s go.”
But one man remained. And he kept filling the bucket with water, day after day, and dumping it — even though water kept pouring out on the ground. He figured, “A little water out is better than no water at all.”
Then, one day, he noticed something as the water level kept dropping. There, in the middle of the pond, something jutted out from the depths. It was glittering. After a few more days, he began to see it in its entirety. The king’s treasure.
It was at that point the king summoned the man to his castle and said, “As a reward for your patience and hard work, you are now in charge of what you have found. You did not quit in the face of overwhelming odds. You are worthy of my treasure.”
All of us have a bucket with a hole in it. The weeds in our life. The things that we want to change, but we can’t. Why is that? Why did God give us a bucket with a hole in it?
One of the great temptations in this life is for us to think that God always agrees with us. If something is wrong, we think we know just how God would fix it. If someone is hurting, we feel we are doing God’s work by stepping in and straightening out their life. All well and good. As a Church, we should try to prune the weeds every once in a while. After all, if we just let them grow, they’ll choke the wheat. Let’s make the world a better place.
But that’s not what Jesus said. No, Jesus said that both the weeds and the wheat are meant to flourish. For a time.
So, when you lose your job… when your house is broken into… when you are haunted by the knowledge that a commercial airplane was shot out of the sky…. when your children decide they are not going to Church anymore… Well, those are the weeds. That’s the hole in our bucket. Sadly, these things are there for a reason. And, if we are honest, sometimes we plant a few weeds ourselves.
And that’s why this parable is so important. Jesus is reminding us that God is the final judge. That evil deeds are not the final word. That the good works you do in this life will be rewarded. It’s as if God is saying to us, “I’ll take care of the weeds, even if they are yours. You just keep your eyes on the wheat.”
Tom Brokaw on Friday night ended his broadcast by saying that if you followed the headlines last week, you’d swear the world was coming to end. That’s why our answer today is so encouraging, isn’t it? We are working in God’s garden, not ours. It’s not about me, or you, or the weeds, or what they decide to broadcast. The world is not perfect, but there is still plenty of wheat, plenty of great news. The pond is deep, but there is a treasure under there. You just have to believe.
Imagine, then, if we all worked like that man with the bucket for Jesus? That we never grew weary building the Kingdom of God? Imagine if we committed to NOT complain about the weeds, or the hole in our buckets… but rather to lift our heads and acknowledge the amber waves of grain surrounding us, every day?
Weeds, or wheat? A hole in your bucket, or a golden treasure?
You can’t have one without the other…
And let us thank God for that.