(Mat 13:22) He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Jesus taught by the use of parables and in this parable, the Sower and the Seed, Jesus told of people who once they have received the word of truth and have been changed by coming to Christ, become unfruitful because of the “cares of life”.
The cares of life can be both good and bad. We all have responsibilities in life that require our attention and time. If you are married, then you have a responsibility to your spouse and family. Paul tells us that if a Christian does not provide for his own house then he is worse than an unbeliever -- (1 Tim 5:8) “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Providing for them includes many things – food, clothing, shelter, protection, emotional and spiritual welfare, education and other important and necessary areas of living. This requires time and money and is very rewarding when we fulfill our obligations. However, they can also become dangerous spiritually speaking to us and our family. These are what we call our “legal” responsibilities and a good Christian will perform these duties.
The danger comes in with the time and energy required to perform these duties. In a “dog-eat-dog” world we can get caught up in the fast-paced world we live in and soon we lose sight of the goal; we forget who it was that gave us all the many material things we possess. Soon our focus is upon the gifts and blessings and God is pushed out of sight. We strive to climb the ladder of success and soon we forget God, pride begins to overtake us and we think that we have gotten all these things by our own strength. We put our trust and confidence in the blessings and not God. We work and fill our lives with as many “things” as we can and soon we are overcome of the blessings. We enjoy the blessings material things bring, but soon we begin to lust for more. The advertising companies make more and more very appealing to us. Soon one income is not enough to satisfy all our longings and we become so busy that we do not have time for the family. Our energy and time is spent in getting more and more stuff. We rise up early and have no time for devotions or prayer; we come home late, exhausted and too tired to read the Scriptures or pray. We even eat in shifts and have little or communication with our family. The kids get involved in school activities and others outside of school. We run here and there taking them to these activities. They require money to be involved, so we take on a part-time job and our life becomes a jumble of work, activity and schedules and we soon have forgotten all about God.
Good things can turn into bad as we accumulate them and obtain more and more. When television was first invented the church failed to see the worth of it and the potential to use it as a tool to reach millions of unsaved people. Television was condemned by the church as being of the devil and preachers cried aloud that Christians should not own or view them. Today there are not many homes that do not have TV and even in countries that are far less developed where there are dirt roads, no sewer system or other conveniences, there is a television dish outside their home and television inside. We purchase the best packages of programming and we cannot watch it all and soon we feel obligated to watch more and more television to justify the cost of the many programs available – and God is forgotten.
We try to be good stewards and make plans for the future by buying insurance to provide for the family in case of our early demise. We invest in IRAs, 401Ks and other retirement type ventures to assure we have money to life on in old age. All these are good and important, but soon God is pushed out of our life and planning.
Middle age is an extremely vulnerable time for many people. The aging process catches us all and some people get so disturbed when they reach certain ages – 40, 50 or 60. The age lines show, the clothes are tighter or will not fit at all. We need by-focal or reading glasses. Our bodies tell us we cannot do the things we used to be able to do and we get all excited and bent out of shape (literally). So, we join a fitness club or gym and begin to exercise, we get tummy tucks, facelifts or any other procedure that will hide our aging. We look back at our life and realize we have not obtained many of our original goals and we get desperate to succeed. Women try to look like their teenage daughters by coloring their hair, wearing their clothes (or ones like them). Men try to impress younger women to retain their “macho” image and build their ego as a “hunk” of a man in their eyes.
Most of what I have cited is good and necessary parts of our life here, but unfortunately God is pushed away and forgotten and we walk away from our faith. We come down to the end of life and wonder, “Where did I go wrong?” This devotional this week is a wakeup call to see and beware of this trap and call us all to retain the faith.