“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for
other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Go Deep: The proclamation of God’s Word—whether from pulpits, in casual conversations, or simply through its reading in your quiet time—is meant to produce Kingdom expansion in your life. That is, the Kingdom of God, which simply put, means the rule of God within you, is no static thing. It is either thriving and bearing fruit, or it is stunted and shriveling.
A critical question you and I must constantly ask ourselves is this: Is God’s Kingdom expanding in my life? Is God’s rule gaining ground in every detail of my world? Am I bearing fruit?
If the answer to those questions is “no”, or “not a whole lot”, then the culprit will be one of those three things Jesus identified as “Kingdom killers” in his Parable of the Sower: One, the cares of this world—worry over the things we have to do; Two, the deceitfulness of riches—the wastefulness of pursuing wealth; Three, the desires for other things—wanting to keep of with the Jones’.
Jesus antidote to these three “Kingdom killers” is found in this classic verse from Matthew 6:33,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.”
If you are caught up in the cares of this life, turn worry into meditation on the goodness of God. What is worry anyway, except thinking continually about things you cannot control? Just flip that around and train yourself to think about the things God can control. Learn to do that continually—call it reverse worry—and it will do wonders for you. Begin by spending time this week reading and reflecting on Matthew 6:25-33 and watch how the things that worry you get put in their rightful place—under the feet of Jesus.
If you are getting sucked into the money trap, start giving away what you have. True wealth, with the joy and satisfaction that comes from it, is to leverage your assets to resource the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38, cf. Acts 20:35)
If you are in the proverbial rat race, competing with the Jones’, just stop. Let them be the only rats in the race. Who cares if they have a bigger house, a better car, or spend more time enjoying exotic vacations! Do you think that will matter five minutes into eternity? Listen to Jesus’ sobering words in Luke 12:15-21,
And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Got any “Kingdom killers” in your life? Try some spiritual weed killer—get rich toward God and watch his Kingdom begin to thrive in your life.
Just saying… David Livingstone wrote, “I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” I would say that is a pretty good filter through which we should run every pursuit, each purchase and all of our possessions.