In Matthew 13 of the New Testament Jesus teaches by using parables
or allegories – short stories that illustrate spiritual or moral
principles. One of those parables uses “wheat” and “tares”
(undesirable weeds): the “wheat” are the people who, upon hearing the
Word of God, allow themselves to be changed and begin to grow
spiritually. The “tares” are those who, for one reason or another,
choose to turn their backs on the truth, harden their hearts, and end
up spiritually worse than they started out.
Concerning spiritual growth that brings one closer to God’s ideals,
Jesus has this to say to His disciples (Matthew 13:12):
12 To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be
given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who
are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them.
~ New Living Translation
Another Bible translation expresses Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 13:12
12 "For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have
an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be
taken away from him.
~ New American Standard Bible
I can see where this translation can be misapplied by those caught up
in the physical “health and wealth” mentality of some churches, ignoring
the spiritual abundance, or growth, about which Jesus was most concerned
and is clearly expressed in His Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). After all,
when it comes to material goods, as the saying goes: “You can’t take it
with you.” The “wheat” who open their eyes and ears to the compassionate
teachings of Jesus will enjoy a place in heaven beyond anything that the
“tares” can imagine.