In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) Jesus spoke of four types of responses people have in receiving the life of God’s word. Some have become hardened from being trampled by the world—they understand nothing. Others receive the word with excitement, but lack the depth of resolve to stand the rigors of opposition. The most favored are those who bear varying degrees of fruit in honoring God. But unfortunately it’s the third group that I believe most accurately portrays the church at large in the U.S.
I prefer the way that the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) renders this passage:
“Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
This age certainly has a lot to concern us! In many ways we are experiencing the decline of a civilization, but God’s kingdom is growing and advancing. If we focus on the decline, we’ll be blind to the advance.
All of the negative news of our day can easily have the cumulative effect of increasingly burdening our hearts. But we weren’t made to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders! If we’re not careful, we’ll be sucked into the mire of fear and discouragement.
Weeds and thorns are natural. I can tell you that much from my 20+ years of gardening.
Invariably they will squeeze out the good stuff unless we are diligent to pull them up by the roots.
With all that is happening in our world, worry is the most natural thing that we can do. But natural isn’t always good and in this case it can be deadly.
Our world is not spinning out of control. God reigns! He undoubtedly has a plan—and a darn good one at that! By God’s grace I want to continue to turn my back on my old, natural ways and continue to press forward as I learn to see His hand and to trust Him in the midst of so much craziness. I, for one, am ready to stay good-bye to Weedville!