...but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. -Luke 8:14b
I recently read an article that warns against planting honey locust trees because of the wicked thorns they produce.
Nasty looking, hmm?
I remember the sticker weeds (real name?) growing in our pasture and the tiny painful thorns covering them. Mom brought a cactus back from a trip out west when I was very young. An unpleasant plant, the cactus.
I have read the Parable of the Sower many, many times. No doubt you have too. But I'm ashamed to admit that until this morning, I never paid attention to Jesus' description of the thorny ground.
The cares of this life; oh yes I get that. Who doesn't? But "the riches and pleasures?" Hardly thorny stuff, wouldn't you say?
Whoaa, have I in fact been praying for these thorns to come my way?
Jesus points out that true faith is choked out by these thorns. But my heart is the "good soil," right? How could I forget the hours spent walking cotton rows with a hoe in my hand to take out the Johnson Grass that would stain the cotton lint and lower the value of the crop?
Even now I remember looking out across a soybean field on a crisp autumn morning. Mixed with the gold of the ripened plants was the dark burgundy of the cocklebur plants. A beautiful sight as the early morning sun cast its shadows and glinted off the dew on the spiders' webs.
But weeds among the crop, as Jesus noted elsewhere, is not a thing to be desired. And what may seem desirable at first glance may become a temptation. Another distraction to choke my faith.
Even good soil must be worked so that it will produce the desired harvest. A careful farmer must see to the thorns and thistles growing among his crop.
It is very easy to understand the temptation that comes with the cares of this life, but I needed to be reminded that thorns sprout up in many forms. It is useful to remember that these things did not become a problem until after The Fall.
We have been warned.