Last time we looked at the first type of soil in Jesus’ parable of the sower, now let’s look at the second type of soil:
Jesus said, “ Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
What does this mean and how is it different than the last one?
Enduring Word Bible Commentary puts it this way: We might say this ground is too fertile. The word of God grows there, but so does everything else. And everything else soon begins to crowd out the word of God.
The worries of this life: You know, the worries of this life are sometimes just the simple, everyday things. It’s not always the really tough stuff. Everyone’s schedules are so full, that some activities now spill onto Sunday mornings. And whatever happened to the 9-5 workweek? Many companies are 24/7. Where’s time for family? Where’s time for church? When do we have time to think about putting God first in our lives when we can’t even seem to get a break in our own lives to begin with. It always seems there’s someone else making the schedule for us and we’re just trying to keep up.
Thhe deceitfulness of wealth. Think about that phrase for just a moment. How does material wealth deceive us? By making promises it can’t keep. People are tempted to believe that money is the answer to our problems, rather than God as the answer to our problems. Why? Because money is tangible. We can see it, we can place a physical value on it. We can see right where it can fit into our lives and take care of problems. But people with money have problems, too. Not all problems go away when you have money, they either turn into different problems or certain problems have nothing to do with money. Relationship problems for example. There’s an old saying I remember hearing from when I was a kid: Wherever you go, there you are.
Or, depending on how wealthy people spend their money, they may incur greater problems.
CNBC did a report last August on lottery winners. This is what it said:
Lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three to five years than the average American. What’s more, studies have shown that winning the lottery does not necessarily make you happier or healthier.
“Evidence shows that most people who make it to the top one percent of income earners usually don’t stay at the top for very long,” writes The Washington Post’s Jonnelle Marte.
Economist Jay L. Zagorsky agrees with the research. He writes for U.S. News and World Report: “Studies found that instead of getting people out of financial trouble, winning the lottery got people into more trouble, since bankruptcy rates soared for lottery winners three to five years after winning.”
We think wealth can replace, or even be, God’s provisions for us. Like I said, it’s easier to chase after wealth because wealth is something tangible. God’s provision is not tangible. It’s not always foreseeable. It’s invisible. It’s based on faith. Whenever we replace God with something else, it is an idol and it is never greater than God.
Another example of why wealth is deceitful, for some, they believe their personal value as a human being lies in their finances. I have been guilty of that myself. Maybe that’s why God has kept me poor this long. He wants to keep reminding me that my value is not in my wealth or lack thereof. My value is not in what I am but in who I am. And I have to keep reminding myself of that sermon I preached here almost two years ago: I am a child of God.
Lastly, Jesus added, and the desire for other things. This could be a myriad of things that have little or nothing to do with wealth. These are things we can find ourselves addicted to. Things of pleasure. This is a group of people in many churches that search for worldly things rather than Godly things, and they’ll believe in God, thinking He’s all good, but they’ll set God aside either thinking He’s not important or they’ll brush God off their conscience because they’d rather be doing things they know they shouldn’t.
Without good soil, the roots of the Word won’t go very far. The things of this world will choke out, or obstruct the desire for God in our lives.