“And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”——-Matthew 13:22
“And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”——-Mark 4:18-19
“The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”——-Luke 8:14
Many things beg for our time and commitment. It seems as time goes along, more and more things seek to fill up all of our lives. What it boils down to is what we believe are the most important things in life; these we give our attention.
What I often see as a pastor are the things that end up becoming stumbling blocks people have making God the priority in their life. You begin to realize that with people’s busy lives, it makes it much more difficult for people to truly put their faith in Jesus and seek to live for Him. There are so many distractions and temptations that people believe they can commit to just one more activity for us or the kids, one more club or team to join, or simply just work tons of hours to make more money for all the “stuff” they want or think they need. But for many, it ends up being too much.
The world’s expectations become the focus and to simply “fit in”, people feel they must give into these societal norms. What we see is that people feel they must work 80 hours a week, take their kids from this sport to this activity, have all the latest and newest toys, eat out at restaurants for almost every meal, go to all the movies and events around the city, and so on and so on. So the result is that the worries of not having time for anything else and the cost to afford these lifestyles take over.
It is no wonder it is such a struggle for people to “find time” to fit the Lord into their schedule. People’s commitment to the Lord and meeting with other believers becomes a tag-on if they don’t have other commitments or things they need to get done. But why can we ever think we live our lives for the Lord, while at the same time live our lives engulfed in the things of the world??
As followers of the Lord, it is critical that we don’t get consumed by the things of this world. With so much pressure to be like the world, it is getting tougher and tougher to stand strong against the temptations of materialism and being constantly on the go. But if we are to truly embrace faith and trust in Jesus, we must recognize these obstacles and make bold stands to resist these things. This may not be popular among the masses, our families, or even our friends, but we must seek to clear out all the clutter that hinders us from growing into more mature believers.
In the verses above, they speak about those that hear God’s Word, but as they go on in life, they get overwhelmed by worrying about all the stuff here on earth. They end up pursuing the fleeting things in life rather than putting their faith and living for the Lord first. The result is that they become “unfruitful” and “bring no fruit to maturity”. Or in other words, they end up falling away from the faith.
It is important that we examine ourselves to see to what extent we are allowing the pressures of life to consume us and pull us away from God. After we recognize those areas, we need to repent of those things by confessing them to the Lord and begin making tangible steps to make Him first in our lives. If we are to earnestly claim we have put our faith in Jesus and say we live for Him, then we should want to clear away all the hindrances that keep us from continuing to grow more Christlike.
As for those that are pastors and leaders, it is important that we also don’t continue to help enable people to just “fit God in”, but rather do everything we can to show God isn’t a add on but that He is the reason for our life itself. The sad condition today is that many have made it easier and more entertaining for people to come to church rather than preaching the Truth. People are left feeling good about still living in the business of life and the worries of this world because most have simply been catered to rather than told to repent. May those that are pastors and leaders take the serious call not to add to the sinfulness and selfishness, but lead and call people to true repentance.
We each have areas that we need to grow in and repent of sin where we have allowed the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of money to creep in. The great hope we have is that when we recognize these things, we can confess, repent, and seek to grow in greater faith and obedience to the Lord, knowing He will gladly forgive us and draw us nearer to Him. Let’s commit all the more to standing boldly in the Truth and putting away all the obstacles that seek to pull us away from the faith. May the Lord be praised!!