Matthew 13: 22

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Today we learn about another response people have to the Word which is sown in them. Some are deceived by what the world has to offer and full of fear and worry. These people choke on the Word because it stands in opposition to the lure of the world’s pleasures and troubles.

We confronted, earlier in the week, the need to consider Christians as we read these passages; not only Christians generally, but specifically ourselves. Today the question might be, “Is the Word getting choked off in my life?”

In my own mind, I read this even a bit broader than we read here. The reason is that there is another part of our culture which chokes the word. That is the “wisdom” of the world. So, there is the deceitfulness of riches, the worry of the world, and the information we are fed through worldly outlets. This latter is a large category. We are bombarded with information. Much of that information contradicts the Word of God. So, as we assimilate all this data directed at us, it pushes out the Word. We believe the doctor’s report, are terror filled by the evening news, are co-opted by television shows, besieged by advertisements and all of that doesn’t even consider the internet and our friends and family. We see that there is a constant cavalcade of input which denies the Word of God. It doesn’t take long before we believe what we hear day and night from the world instead of believing the Word. The Word gets choked so that it withers.

To compound the problem, most of us don’t get enough of God’s Word to begin with. For example, how long do you expect to live? What does the Word say? You see, it speaks to that. Are you healed or are you sick? Is prosperity your destiny or merely a distraction and a deception?

I will tell you another source of misinformation. Our churches. I say this because some well-meaning congregation member may quote you this scripture concluding that having financial wealth is a sin or against the Word. That is not true, and their conclusion is not supported by scripture. It’s what you think about riches, or wealth, that is problematic. The deceitfulness occurs when we conceive money as our means of support. When we consider it the answer to our financial problems, we have just run afoul of the Word. God is our source. Period. We may trade in dollars, Yen or Euros but our beloved Father is the one who provides.

The point Jesus intends us to glean from today’s passage is that we can be separated from the Word and secondly, when we do, we become unfruitful. I am sure no one wants to be called unfruitful by Jesus. Therefore, we must guard our hearts because, as we learned on Tuesday, the soil of which Jesus speaks, is our own heart. We must filter this endless salvo of information through the filter of God’s Word. That means we must read it. There is no getting around it though we try. We need to know what the Word says so that we can stake our tent on that ground and then everything which contradicts it, we can reject. In this way, we protect ourselves from being deceived.

We are meant to produce fruit but there is no fruit apart from the Word. Our Lord sows the Word in us. What we do with it determines how fruitful we shall be.


Mark 4: 19

[A]nd the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Most people would probably say that they are not enjoying all of the victory in life that they would like. Jesus tells us here why some of their work is unfruitful. The Word is getting choked out. It is so easy to start out right where you need to be and then the next thing you know, something is spinning out of control. What happened? Usually it is one of the above. I would add one other item to the list.

Sometimes busyness is the thing that chokes out the Word. We get too tied up in the things of this world and with running around trying our very best to get everything done only to realize that we have neglected the most important thing.

Look, you have seen plenty of wealthy celebrities with their lives in complete shambles. They were deceived into thinking that wealth and fame would make them happy. Striving for the money and the toys has left us all empty. When our desire for the things of this world outweighs our desire for the things of God, it is inevitably going to go badly for us. And as children of the most high, we should know that we do not even have to pursue those things like the world does. We seek the Lord and he gives us the desires of our hearts including some toys and other things that enrich life.

If we do not want the Word to be unfruitful, then we must guard ourselves against getting our eyes on the things of this world, including our jobs and other activities to the detriment of having our attention stayed on God, His son, His spirit and His Word. If we keep our priorities in line and keep our desire fixed on the Lord, then all these other things will be added to us.