“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Matt.13:22
The gospel seed often falls among thorns and noxious weeds, and if old habits and practices and the former life of sin are not left behind the thorns will come to be the crop, and will kill the wheat.
The thorns of sin will grow in any soil; they need no cultivation, but grace must be carefully cultivated. If the heart is not kept under the control of God, if the Holy Spirit does not work unceasingly to refine and ennoble the character, the old habits will reveal themselves in the life.
Christ specified the things that are dangerous to the soul. As recorded by Mark, the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things. Luke specifies the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life. These are what choke the word, the growing spiritual seed.
“The cares of this world.” No class is free from the temptation to worldly care. To the poor, toil and deprivation and the fear of want bring perplexities and burdens. To the rich come the fear of loss and a multitude of anxious cares.
And many who are working for others’ good; their duties are pressing, their responsibilities are many, and they allow their labor to crowd out devotion. Communion with God through prayer and a study of His word is neglected. They forget that Christ has said, “Without Me, ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.
“The deceitfulness of riches.” Their riches, instead of awakening gratitude to God, lead to the exaltation of self and look upon it as a means of serving themselves. The seed of the word is choked with thorns.
“And pleasures of this life.” All habits of indulgence that weaken the physical powers, that becloud the mind, or that benumb the spiritual perceptions, are “fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11.
“And the lusts of other things.” Whatever attracts the mind from God, whatever draws the affections away from Christ, is an enemy to the soul.
Cares, riches, pleasures, all are used by Satan in playing the game of life for the human soul. The warning is given, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:15, 16.
He who reads the hearts of men as an open book says, “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life.” Luke 21:34.
Adapted from “Christ Object Lessons”