A word for us to contemplate today: tares. The Bible refers to a specific “weed” as a tare; it is identical to wheat,only at harvest time, there is no head of wheat. Fruitless. Jesus mentions an enemy tossing weed seeds in among the farmer’s crop, causing mixture: tares growing among wheat. The result is, the farmer has to endure a season of pesky weeds stealing the nourishment from the real thing, unable to pull them up without risking damage to the entire crop. Those roots are so intertwined that if the farmer were to pull one, it would uproot the others. In the parable of the sower, some of the seed scattered fell among “thorns” …and those seeds could not produce because they were outnumbered before they even had a chance. Their root system was choked out by what? Tares. Why, even in our modern English, tare is a term used to describe “empty container;” specifically, the weight of that container before something is added, so that the weight of the filling might be calculated accurately. A big box with nothing in it…ever find disappointment in that? Sure you have! Pop the lid on that pizza box left on the table to find that it got emptied before you got any! I pondered these things last night after Pastor Mitch shared a powerful message on unity in the Body of Christ, in which he referenced the parable of the sower. However, my thoughts drifted to a tare, and the whole concept of something enticing which proves eventually to be fruitless: that counterfeit pursuit which looks legit all the way to harvest time, only to produce a big, fat nothing. It convicted me as I thought of the tares in my own life. So I go before my Father today and ask Him to set my affections on right things; to know the difference between a fruit-bearing seed and a vain distraction. Oh, they’re everywhere. And while we need relaxation, leisure, and even a little entertainment at times, how many tares do I nurture which will produce absolutely NO fruit? Your entire life will be wrapped around the choices you make. We all have an equal amount of seconds, minutes, hours in a day…even if the number of our years vary from one individual to another. Approach this day as if you must get a return on your investment, because today is all you really have this side of eternity. You might get another day tomorrow, but you might not; it’s a stark reality of our human existence. Confess 120 years, but live as if you could be gone tomorrow! Evaluate the gazillion little things that eat up your day, and stop feeding those activities and interests that have no true value. Don’t let your complicated, hurried, fruitlessness be a self-inflicted curse! Pray with me: Father, I am a spirit with a soul, dwelling in flesh. My soul (mind, will, emotions) is in a constant tug-of-war between my flesh and my spirit. You have such wonderful opportunities prepared for me, if only I will tune out the distractions and search You out! Whenever I am guilty of wasting time, send a way of escape from that temptation…bring to mind something worthy of that moment given to what won’t bear lasting fruit. I’m just as saved as I’ll ever be, and I know that my salvation can never be about my works; but Father, I want to produce because I love You! I don’t want to be an empty container. Fill me with Your love, Your favor, Your heart, Your desires, and may I go forth and sow, sow, sow! I am determined that I will not stand before You at the Bema Judgment with nothing more than an account of wasted opportunities. Purge my branches of dead things, trim off those ‘sucker sprouts” which steal nourishment from the fruit. I submit myself to You today willingly, and I say, “Make me a bumper crop fruit-bearer for Your Kingdom!” In Jesus name, Amen.