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The third kind of soil Jesus describes is where the seed is sown AMONG THE THORNS. “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.”
There seems to be a root and a beginning shoot, but no fruit! Again, the person representing this kind of soil hears the word, but encounters two very real difficulties. The first is the worry of the world. This has the idea of caring so much about what others think or just how you compare to the rest of the world. This worry or care becomes a major distraction. Living this way requires a constant upkeep to keep up! This constant upkeep and cautiousness makes this person feel divided in his soul. This is a perfect passage from which to launch a discussion on living between two kingdoms-the manmade kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of God. Talk about pressure!
The second difficulty encountered by the seed that is sown among the thorns is the deceitfulness of wealth or riches. The nature of the term “deceitfulness” is uncertainty. The deceit comes in the thought that this wealth or riches is the answer to my life’s success and fulfillment. But the very nature of trusting in your riches or wealth is the classic experience of buying into the “over promise-under deliver” lie.
Now note what the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches actually do to the seed that is planted among the thorns. The power of the seed-the root and the shoot-is choked to the point of becoming unfruitful. The term “choke” means to strangle completely-smothered. It has the same sense of being drowned or crowded out.
Both difficulties force you to lose your focus. Following Jesus requires single-mindedness. So many things we do and feel in this world divide our hearts and diminish any focus on Jesus.
Do you ever feel this kind of imbalance, caused by the pressure to keep up? It’s the proverbial rat race. Remember, even if you win in the rat race, you’re still a rat! Don’t be discouraged. Tomorrow’s 180 will give you hope and the days ahead will give you some handles on getting through the piles of life!