This morning, as I read Luke 8, I was struck by verse 14. It says:

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

Luke 8:14

Jesus is explaining the parable that he gave to the crowds about the four different types of soil where the farmer had scattered the seed. In this particular case, it was the third soil where the seed was scattered and then took root and grew. So far so good!

But as the seed grew, there were weeds and thorns that surrounded it and choked the plant. Jesus said that those weeds and thorns are the things that we worry about in life – our riches, our pleasures.

This struck me for two reasons.

First, I see it everywhere. Whether it is in the US or here in Sicily where I live, I see it. Whether you speak of someone who is already rich, or you speak of someone who is poor and wants to become rich. I see it. Whether you speak of people in the church or outside of it, I see it.

The Word of God, and what it tells us to be or to do, is routinely choked out by the things of this world. As a people, we are much more concerned about our riches or our status in these few years that we have here on this earth than we are living for eternity.

The second reason that this struck me is that I see it in myself. I get worried about our finances. I get worried about whether or not we will be able to do something or not do something. I get worried… And this is, as they say, a long step off of a short pier. It doesn’t take much to lose focus on the things that matter, those things of eternal value. It is easy to do, so I must continue to focus on what God has to say so that I don’t become entangled in the thorns of this life and become choked out by those things that are temporary here on earth.

I am, instead, inspired by what Paul had to say in his letter to the Philippians. He said:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21

Paul is indifferent to the things of the world. He knows the supreme and everlasting power of living in the Kingdom of God. He understands that there is one thing to live for, and that is Christ. Everything else is second, and in fact, if he is killed for what he is living for, that is even better. The world has no hold upon him.

This is how I want to live and the attitude that I want to carry with me each day. God help me to live in this way and not be choked out by the temptations of the things of this world!

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