“… the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life …”
— Luke 8:14
Yesterday we considered two kinds of “hearers” of God’s Word: the wayside hearers and the rocky-soil hearers. Both had hardened their hearts, refusing to allow the Word to penetrate and change their lives. Today we’re going to discuss the third kind of hearer that Jesus spoke of in the parable of the sower: the thorny-soil hearer. The farmer cast the seed everywhere, and some of the seed fell on thorny soil. Although the soil richly nourished the seed, the thorns choked the plant so that it couldn’t bring fruit to maturity. In the same way, thorny-soil hearers can hear and absorb God’s Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke them, preventing them from bearing any fruit.
I have known so many people like this. I think of a dear man I know who once told me, “Oh, I haven’t got time for spiritual things. I have to make a living. It is so hard these days.” Thorny-soil hearers pay too much attention to the cares of this world, forgetting that they will one day die and face God and their cares will disintegrate in His presence. And yet people continue to allow bills, jobs, worries, and anxieties to crowd out the Word. These cares choke out time to serve Christ and to bear fruit. I know of too many people who have gone this way, spiritually strangled to death, never bringing forth fruit to maturity.
What about the deceitfulness of riches? I have seen many people who have prospered, so blessed by God that they no longer concern themselves with the cares of this world, but they have now let riches deceive them. Everything has come their way, and they want more. Instead of God’s goodness leading them to trust Him more, their wealth simply brings forth more thorns in their lives. They buy every sort of new gadget and toy and invest in every new luxury to make life exciting. They have no time for God, no time for church. Instead, they say, “I must look after my portfolio.” Money in itself is not bad, but the love of money is; it has shipwrecked the faith of many.
Instead of being wayside, rocky, or thorny soil for the seeds of God’s Word, we need to be good soil, hearing God’s Word, understanding it, and bearing fruit for His kingdom. Today, read God’s Word, and let it really sink in. Then let it do its work in your heart so that you might bear its fruit in your life.