And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Matthew 13:7, 22 KJV No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24 KJV --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/pastor-lucy-paynter/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/pastor-lucy-paynter/support
<span;> Sometimes, a land meant for cultivation gets invaded by noxious, non-native plants. These plants are often very destructive and difficult to control or eradicate. They grow fast and choke out the native, cultivated plants. The cultivated plants can barely keep up with these plants because of their aggressive growth. If you plant your crop in between weeds, you can only hope for a miracle. Not only do these plants affect the outlook of your garden, they create a hostile growing environment and compete with your plants for water and nutrients which reduces both the quality, and the yield of the crop. When they grow too close to the plants, even getting rid of them by hand becomes a challenge because you risk pulling out the weeds with the crop, and even the use of herbicides poses the risk of harming the desirable plants if care is not taken. It’s even more difficult when the weeds happen to be thorny because pulling them out by hand is not often practical. The tillage operations involved in maintaining a land infested by weeds also end up increasing the cost of cultivation.
<span;> Matthew 13:7 is a continuation of the parable of the sower that we have been covering in the past two days. It says that other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. In verse 22, Jesus explained to the disciples that the seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
<span;> You see, weeds rarely thrive where the soil is not fertile because they need a soil with enough nutrients and water for them to grow faster than the cultivated crop, lest they be overcrowded and weakened. The soil in this segment of the parable represents a fertile ground. A ground with so much potential that it attracts all sorts of things to grow in it. The thorns in this parable were a fruit of the wild and they had no good in them. The only thing they could do was to entangle, to choke the life out of the crop and hinder their growth. A person whose heart receives the Word but their heart remains too entangled in riches, lusts and pleasures of the world can be fitly likened to a thorny ground, for these things take away their attention and time from the Word. They receive the Word but still leave room for the wild seed, the seed of sin, to take root and spring forth with life. The deceitfulness of riches and carnal pleasures become great hindrances and choke the good seed out, bringing it to naught.
<span;> A heart such as this is laden with the anxieties of daily life and attempts to secure life outside of God. Material gains become the core goal and definition of success for them. With such commitments taking over their life, the Word of God is unable to break through to nourish a new life in them. Their interest in the Word is not absolute. They take the Word as merely one among many other things that should have some space in their lives. They have no room in their hearts for the Word of God.
<span;> It’s important to note here that the Bible says that the thorns grew up and choked out the tender plants. We could assume that the field had been plowed and the thorns turned under, only for them to grow and overtake the crop. The seed of the Word takes root and begins to show promise but soon, the things of the world begin to take priority and they drain the nourishment, the spiritual lifeblood away. This is a person who begins their journey of faith with a deep desire to grow in Christ but they lack the will to cast their cares unto Him. They forget Christ’s words that where a man’s treasure is, that is where his heart will be.
<span;> Now, Satan’s strategy is to keep us distracted from our goal. To keep us too busy to study the Word of God. Too busy to pray. Too busy to focus on growing into faith. The truth is, we’re living in a world that’s moving too fast. A world that’s too distracting that if we’re not careful, we will miss out on the most important thing; our salvation and spiritual growth. After we’ve heard the Word of God, we must be prepared to put in effort towards understanding. We must understand that it is not enough to hear the Word of God. We must practice what we have heard and subscribed to because if we don’t, we will be like a man who builds a house on sand, a house that, however beautiful it may be, cannot stand for long.
<span;> We must be willing to work for our own growth. We must be willing to rid ourselves of the things that crowd the Word of God from our lives so that we may grow until there is evidence of that growth. We must have the kind of an attitude towards the Word of God that puts it above everything else. We must have the Word of God dictating our thoughts and actions. It must be the absolute truth. The absolute authority in our lives. For the seed to take, for us to flourish until the fruits of the Word of God in us are evident, we must give the seed enough room sprout and take root. We cannot afford to ignore the requirements and the steps involved in the process of growth. I pray that you take care not to become preoccupied with the cares and deceptions of the riches of the world that threaten to make the Word of God barren and unfruitful.
<span;> Matthew 6:24 says that no one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. You must give up your worldly preoccupations for the Word of God to grow and yield fruit. </span;></span;></span;></span;></span;></span;></span;></span;>