Extricating oneself from the thorny ground path

"And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them" (Matthew 13:7)

"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. (Matthew 13:22)
Comment: Image source: MyDailyDevotion.ORG

I've been thinking about this parable this week - particularly since Kathee and I have just finished reading Matthew and have begun Mark. Last night's passage was Mark's record of this parable. (Mark 4:1-23). I don't want to be in the thorny place. I want to be fruitful for my Lord and Savior!
Here are my thoughts on extricating oneself from the thorny ground path:
  • On "the cares of this world".
    • Woody Guthrie sang the famous "Worried Man Blues" with the lyrics "It takes a worried man to sing a worried song"
    • Christians should not be characterized by the Worried Man Blues! We should be characterized by joy, assurance, and confidence in the providential care of our Sovereign God!
    • Honestly we all have cares! Here are some of mine:
      • The handicapped life. Now in my 26th year of this. It's not getting easier. The aches are present and of greater intensity. The walking is more difficult. The trips and stumbles are more frequent. I fear falling.
      • My job: I shouldn't be worrying about this. I've been with my company for 19 years. I am just several years from retirement and frankly I could retire today with a modest pension.
      • My other physical trials
  • On "the deceitfulness of riches"
    • I am rich materially. I'm not bragging - and in fact you reader may be rich too! Also compare with the Global Rich List.
    • I don't worry about paying the bills
    • I have savings and investments (if you read my blog you know I am interested in investing. And my interest is not passive!)
    • I have a comfortable home
    • I have a reliable late model vehicle and a 2002 S-10
  • Mark (4:19) records a third category of thorns that Matthew excluded in his record: "the lusts of other things entering in"
    • Honestly I am less lustful in a sexual sense than when I was in my 20's, 30's 40's or even 50's
    • I am satisfied with "with the wife of [my] youth" (Proverbs 5:18)
    • But I'm not dead! I have eyes and there are temptations!
Here are my thoughts on extricating oneself from the thorny ground path:
  • On "the cares of the world":
    • "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7). Greek "cares" = "μέριμνα". Identical to Matthew 13:22
    • "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)
  • On "the deceitfulness of riches". Solutions:
    • Remeber that the worst form of deceit is self-deceit!  James 1:26, "deceives his own heart"
    • Understand the temporariness of life: James 4:14, "do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away"
    • Understand the temporariness of things: 2 Peter 3:10-12, "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat". Consider the things perhaps one once enamored: Perhaps a 1973 Plymouth Satellite Sebring. It's been in the junkyard and been melted down into a vegetable can three times over! How about the 386 computer one had to have when you had a 286? It's either been recycled or is in a landfill!
    • Remember that material things do not satisfy. Ecclesiastes 2: "I had greater possessions ... than all who were in Jerusalem before me (7) .. I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. (11)". Many of the world's wealthiest persons understand this principle.
    • Remember that true riches are the riches the child of God has in Christ! Ephesians 3:8, "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" And Philippians 4:19, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
    • Remember the stock market crash. Pick one or another! The next one is sure to occur!
    • Be generous: I Timothy 6:18, "Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,"
  • On "the lusts of other things entering in" (Mark 4:19): "lusts" = "ἐπιθυμία" which speaks of "desire for what is forbidden"
    • Because the "marriage bed is undefiled" (Hebrews 13:4) it is permissible and healthy for a married man to desire his own wife!
    • But to desire another man's wife is sin! Exodus 20:17, "you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife"
    • There are other forbidden desires: It might be position, prestige, or glory!
Because these cares and desires "choke the word", a good reality check would be one's own hunger for the Word of God: "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). I ask myself: "do I want to be fruitful in the sense of the parable of the sower and soils? Matthew 13:23 says "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.". This is my hope and prayer!


  1. Thanks for the reminders this morning, Jim!

  2. This really covers the whole ten yards doesn't it? I have never been
    serious about being a person of much fame. There is a David Bowie
    tune that got much air time years ago : "Fame".
    People seek that pinnacle to have a place at the "top" only to discover it is an empty / lonely place. I have been called "lazy" but I am happy to
    be ordinary, certain of my place in the after-life. This world is NOT my own. I'd rather trust a "farm" man than a "city" man. Working with the soil teaches a humility. When my body perishes, I return to the ground.


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