Cares and Riches and Pleasures, Oh My!

Pssst! Wanna know a secret? A secret of the kingdom of God? The seed is the word of God.

Maybe, if you’ve had “ears to hear” for awhile now, that’s not too earth shattering. Perhaps, it’s kind of an old secret. A kind of ho-hum, yeah-yeah-I-know secret. One of those “pat answer” secrets. One of those secrets that really doesn’t make much of a difference in your life on a daily basis.

But this morning, I’m chewing on it afresh. Because this secret is the key to bearing fruit in the kingdom. And this secret reminds me that bearing fruit can get derailed. Derailed by cares and riches and pleasures, oh my!

“A sower went out to sow his seed. . . . And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold. . . . The seed is the word of God. . . . And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” ~ Jesus

(Luke 8:5-15 ESV)

You reap what you sow. No sowing, no crop. No seed, no fruit. Just not gonna happen.

Same with the kingdom life. Don’t think you’re bearing fruit if you’re not in the Word. Or rather, if the word of God isn’t in you.

Not saying God can’t graciously do, what God’s gonna graciously do, but Jesus told this story as his first story for a reason. If we’re not gonna pay attention to this parable, then we’re likely not gonna do much with any of the other seed sown by the Author of Life.

And it would seem to me that for us believer types, the greatest warning is about hearing the Word and then just “going on our way.” And, in so doing, the Word gets strangled and suffocated by the cares and riches and pleasures of life.

Impeded by the million-and-one worries and anxieties of life. “What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear”–all things Jesus said we shouldn’t be anxious about because our heavenly Father knows we need them. Instead, we should seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:31-33). By that way, that’s seed.

Throttled by the riches of life when I’m driven by the need to have them. When I’m preoccupied with where do I store them? Or when am I gonna enjoy them? Or how much time and money is going into maintaining them? All the while, the seed lies dormant. No time to water it with meditation. No time to work it through with some iron on iron interaction with other believers. Too busy going on our way and pursuing riches and, as such, the fruit, says Jesus, doesn’t mature.

Hamstrung by the pleasures of life. The seeds growth potential blocked by the pursuit of sensual delights. Impeded when what lights up our taste, sight, touch, smell, or hearing, takes priority and displaces the seed sown by the One who said He had come so that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

How many of us know the secret, but don’t really believe the secret? Accept it by fact, but don’t really pursue it by faith? Instead, we fall prey to cares and riches and pleasures, oh my!

But for those hear the word, and hold it fast with a sincere heart, and patiently wait for the Spirit to water it and tend it, they will bear fruit. For those determined, by God’s enabling, to take hold of it, claim possession of it, not only will they know the kingdom’s secrets, but its harvest as well.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
   and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth;
   it shall not return to Me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

(Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)

By His grace. For His glory.

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