The next chapter on the parable of the sower. This time we investigate the seed that fell among the thorns. Let us first look at the passage in the Bible.
Mat 13: 7, 22
Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them up.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the pleasures and delights and glamour and deceitfulness of riches chokes and suffocate the word, and it yields no fruit.
My investigation into this passage began with looking at some definitions in the dictionary.
Thorns: a sharp excrescence on a plant, something that wounds, annoys or causes discomfort, a thorn in one’s side/flesh, a source of continuous irritation or suffering.
Choked: to suppress a feeling, emotion, to choke up is to become speechless, tense, and nervous.
So the seed was thrown among the thorns, and then they grew up and choked the seedlings. In the beginning there were probably no sign of thorns, the thorn seeds were dormant or so small that it seemed insignificant, but the thorn seeds grew quicker than the faith. The explanation of these thorns are the pleasures of the world and delights and glamour. I think many of these things that gets to us, looks small and insignificant in the beginning and we don’t focus on it and don’t recognize it as possible stumbling blocks later in life, but they can grow quicker than our faith and then it become so big that it will choke the words and promises from the Bible from our memory.
How do we go about to recognize these things?
Ask yourself: Which things in your life chokes you up, makes you speechless, which situations make you feel you cannot proclaim the word. Which friends in your life pricks your fingers when you start talking about God? We can all relate to this in some way or another. Sometimes a friendship starts out to look innocent and the small things they do does not bother you that much, but as time grows, it could have a detrimental effect on your faith. Sometimes it is not people, it could be other things. I never realized how dependent I was on a monthly salary and financial independance, until I quit my corporate job and had to make do with the little that paid out. All of a sudden I realized that I get choked with worry about finances. I do believe in God and I do believe He is in control of the world’s finances, but I struggled to take those promises seriously for me. To be honest, there are still days that I worry, but I am growing stronger in the faith that He will look after me, that He will care for me, even in that department in my life. Other thorns can be unforgiveness or bitterness against somebody – but the reality is – it will just choke you up and it will do you no good.
It is not always that easy, and yes, God has a plan with everyone and every situation, even with friends that choke you up, but pray for discernment, pray for when it is time to remove yourself from the situation. Maybe you are not part of God’s plan for that person, maybe your job was to sow and it is someone else’s job to weed or harvest. Whenever you feel you are being pricked and choked up and it makes you partake in the pleasures, delights, glamour and deceitfulness rather than Godly things, maybe it is time to make a change. Remember “”Godly things”” are not necessarily devoid from fun and pleasure, it is just very different from the type of pleasures of the world. In the same way we can talk about money. Learning to survive with a less stable income, is not necessarily devoid of fun things. There are a lot of fun and pleasures in the world that money cannot buy: e.g. Your child’s laughter is for free, the love in your loved one’s eyes are for free.
What else can choke us up? Worries of the world.:
but the worries of this world, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires of other things.
Often times prosperity gives a false sense of self-sufficiency, security and well being.
And Jesus said to His disciples, Truly I say to you, it will be difficult for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven.”
This does not mean that all rich people are caught up in the thorns, it just means that riches have the ability to consume you with materialism, which leads to a situation where God does not have a place in your life.
It is important for us to recognize the thorns in our lives and stay clear from it. Here are a few verses to support that idea.
Like a thorn that goes [without being felt] into the hand of a drunken man, so is a proverb in the mouth of a [self-confident] fool”
Thorns and snares are in the way of the obstinate and willful, but who guards himself will be far from them.
Life is busy and life goes on, many times we don’t even know we are between thorny friends or in a thorny situation, we lack discernment. We must be carefull of a proverb in the mouth of a fool – it might sound wise, but the person who proclaims it, might not be that wise. It is important to look at all aspects of lsomeone’s ife, and not only the words of a person, but to look and evaluate them even deeper.
We also have Paul’s well-known thorn in the flesh example.
And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffer and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.
Who or what is your thorn in the flesh? Identify the thorns in your life, remove them/it – burn it for fuel or remove yourself from that situation – give it over to God. You will find that you get a new zest for life and pleasures overshadowing those pleasures of the world.
May you find freedom in your life as you turn the hard roads in your life over, split the rocks and weed the thorns out.