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Sorting Things Out

HAS this ever happened to you? First you get an idea for a great project you could do, or a goal you'd like to achieve. But then you start having doubts. Maybe you're not smart enough, you might think. Or maybe you don't have the courage to try, or the help you'd need. Before long, you end up wondering whether you had such a great idea after all.

You could think of this as a ''tares-and-wheat'' experience. In this analogy, your good idea is like a healthy stalk of wheat, planted in the ground to be nurtured until it is fully grown. The doubts and fears are like tares-weeds-that grow in grainfields. When tares and wheat are young, they look a lot alike. It's hard to sort out what's what. But as they grow to maturity, it becomes easy to tell the difference.

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Christ Jesus, who founded Christianity about two thousand years ago, used this analogy to help his disciples learn how to sort out what was true from what wasn't. The Gospel of Matthew in the Bible records Jesus' parable about the tares and wheat (see chap. 13:24-30). Jesus said a farmer planted some wheat. But while he was sleeping one night, his enemy planted tares throughout the field. Nobody knew about this until the wheat started to grow out of the ground; then they saw that the weeds were there, too. The farmhands asked if they should try to pull out the weeds, but the farmer said not to. He knew that they might mistakenly pull out the wheat, since the plants looked so much alike. So the farmer said, ''Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn'' (verse 30).

A book that explains the underlying meaning of the Bible shows how you can apply this story to your own life. The book is called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy. Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science and presented it in this book. Talking about the spiritual message behind the parable of the tares and wheat, Science and Health says: ''The temporal and unreal never touch the eternal and real. The mutable and imperfect never touch the immutable and perfect. The inharmonious and self-destructive never touch the harmonious and self-existent. These opposite qualities are the tares and wheat, which never really mingle, though (to mortal sight) they grow side by side until the harvest; then, Science separates the wheat from the tares, through the realization of God as ever present and of man as reflecting the divine likeness'' (p. 300).

The thoughts that tell you you're not good enough, or keep you from following through on a good idea, are mental weeds! And they can't really affect you once you realize what's true about yourself. What's true is that you are God's likeness. God is all good. He is unlimited intelligence. You express all the good qualities, all the ''smarts,'' one could ever need to succeed. And, because God is with us, He is giving us all the support and help we could possibly ask for or want.

It was when the wheat was mature that the farmer could tell it apart from the tares. In the same way, when we quiet our fears and self-doubts and express real, spiritual maturity, we can tell the difference between the true ideas, which come from God, and the weed-thoughts. This kind of maturity doesn't depend on being a certain age. It doesn't even depend on having been through certain kinds of experiences. Spiritual maturity belongs to us all-is something we express, a gift of God.

The next time you find that lots of fear and self-doubt are trying to keep you from finishing a good project, performing in a play, playing a sport, or doing anything right, take the time to consider that you are a mature son or daughter of God. Because you are His likeness, you can't be evil or imperfect. And seeing this, you'll find it a lot easier to sort out the wheat from the tares in your thought. You'll know what to do.

The blessing of the Lord,

it maketh rich, and he addeth

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no sorrow with it.

Proverbs 10:22

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