As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
This is Jesus' explanation of part of the parable of the sower. He was saying that people remain unfruitful because of their worries of the world and attachments to riches. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus specifically commands us not to worry:
- “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25).
- “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'” (Matthew 6:31).
- “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the days own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:34)
Notice that the most often repeated words are “Therefore do not be anxious”. In scripture, if a phrase is repeated, it is important. Jesus knew that worry is natural to us and he knows that worry will choke us. So he commands us not to worry.
Worry clouds our judgement. It makes us blind to the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. The reason why worry makes us unfruitful is that it makes us afraid to a point of paralysis. We hesitate to do anything because of our fear. In these cases, the Lord wants us to make a decision, any decision, in faith. I personally believe that worry or fear is a good sign that we are on the right track because the devil is the one who puts these thoughts in our mind.
The second thing that can choke us is delight in riches. Luke's version says, “delight in riches and pleasure”. So delight in riches and pleasure chokes the word. St. Paul says that greed is idolatry. If our main goal in life is to pursue riches, fame and pleasure, then we are making these into idols. We will compromise our values to attain these. Compromising our values will never get us to bear fruit.
So paralysis due to worry and greed chokes the word. The word dies slowly. First is a compromise, then another and another, until in the end, we will give reasons for every thing we do that is contrary to the Word.
Let us then pray that we may have courage to seek the Lords kingdom and do his will. May the Lord give us courage to be faithful to his word.