“ Jesus told [the crowd] many things in parables, saying: ‘A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear…’
“‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away… The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them…’
“‘Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’” Matthew 13:3-9,11-12,14-15,18-23
We who are exposed to the word and opportunities for teaching are entrusted with much, and are expected to thrive and bear fruit. But beware thorns! Jesus warns repeatedly to listen, pay attention, stay clear-headed and keen-hearted to understand and apply what He gives us. Cares of this world clog ears and dull hearts to render us ineffective.
We may be in the lushest of locales, irrigated regularly with fellowship and good teaching, but unless we stay intent on ingesting God’s word, and deliberate in applying it to our discernment, work, and conversation, thorns will stick us to distraction. We can easily slip into ‘I already know what it says,’ and make foolish investments of time and resources in temporal, worldly endeavors that end up sapping us of eternal fruit.
What thorns have we allowed to intrude on our domain? What sticklers of sloth, doubt, materialism, or lax vigilance have infiltrated so deeply we no longer recognize their danger to our resolve, godly affection, and spiritual growth?
Lord, with Your precise, merciful hands, remove my thorns. Plant Your word deeply to yield a hundredfold, for Your glory.