So we all know the parable in Matthew regarding the sower and the seeds.....
here is the recap.......
seeds land on the path......birds devour them
seeds land on rocky soil.....no depth/roots, scorched by sun
seeds land among the thorns.....thorns choked them
seeds land on fertile soil.....happy plants, happy ending.
As I am starting to break through this spiritual desert.....I found myself thinking about how I can totally relate to that third bunch of seeds scenario.
Jesus explains in Matthew 13:22 ~ "As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful"
So although I cannot relate to the "riches" part.....I totally can relate to the cares of the world choking the Word.
Does this happen to you? You hear an awesome sermon on Sunday and get all fired up. You are set out on your mission to save some souls this week and expand God's Kingdom. You feel unstoppable.....you declare to the Heavens and anyone within shouting distance that this will be a great week, nothing will bring you down. You commit to keeping your eyes and heart focused on God......you feel free as a bird.
Then Monday comes......along with that overdue bill notice. Or maybe it's going back to a negative atmosphere at the workplace. Either way, it's the rude awakening of the case of the Mondays (and the "world").
Tuesday's schedule is jammed packed with errands in the morning, meeting up with a girlfriend for lunch, two dentist appointments and tackling Mt. Rushmore of laundry all night.
Wednesday starts with a phone call from your doctor's office informing you that those tests you had done came back inconclusive, so you need to go back for a follow-up. Before you can self diagnose yourself with the Ebola virus, you forget that you have family visiting and that includes that one relative that sucks the life out of you. Fast forward to everyone turning their nose up to what you slaved on for dinner......you call it a night.
By Thursday.....you hear rumors of an impending layoff, so you start scrambling to every store at the local shopping mall filling out applications. Then, your teenagers are being.....well, teenagers......and have you running in 10 different directions all day with their wants and needs. You finally walk through the door at 9pm to find that your dog decided to vomit all over the house.
Before you know it....it's Friday. Where did the week go? You are exhausted. When did you ever even sit down and give God any attention during all of the craziness? Oh wait! You did....you do remember sending up a quick prayer, equivalent to a text message, in between that doctor's call and answering the door to that annoying visitor.
Now I won't say that all of this happened to *me* in one week.....but let's just say, it gives you an idea of some of the typical distractions......or thorns......that occur in any typical week for me. The thorns that choke out any of the seeds (or Good Word as Luke 8:11 confirms) that fall into my soil.
It is the enemy's desire to snatch those seeds. Or if that doesn't work, he will send distractions (thorns) our way so they will choke out the possibility of anything bearing fruit.
Throughout the Bible, thorns represent desolation and troubles.
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.~Genesis 3:17-18
I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.~Proverbs 24:30-31
They will sow wheat but reap thorns; they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.~Jer12:13
So yeah, I find myself often categorized in that cluster of Christians who finds themselves trapped in the thorns. The group that hears the Word (seed) but we are so drowning in the distractions, cares, issues, and pleasures of this life that the seed does not grow to maturity or completion. We try to develop our own solution for how to deal with economic, emotional and physical issues of life rather than accepting God’s solution.
I get lured and snagged in a thicket of distractions which takes my eyes off of God. I am not trusting in Him with my finances or my health. I am not seeking Him for wisdom, patience and peace. No, I am tangled up in my own cares and end up exhausted, overwhelmed.....and unproductive.
Thankfully we serve a loving and God full of grace. One that can and will yank those thorns out of our spiritual garden. He is the Master Gardener who will help us plant and cultivate the seeds of our lives. And season by season we can grow to bear fruit and be who we were destined to be.
So how about you......what causes a thorn in your