Read: Mark 4
The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. (Mark 4:18-19)
The proclamation of God’s Word—whether from pulpits, in casual conversations, or simply in quiet devotional 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 is one of three things Jesus identified as “kingdom killers” in this parable of the Sower: One, the cares of this world—that is, worry over the things we have to do. Two, the deceitfulness of wealth—that is, the wastefulness of pursuing money. Or three, the desires for other things—that is, what we would call, “keeping up 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? So why not simply train yourself to think continually about the things God can control (which is still hovering around 100%, by the way). Spend time this week reading and reflecting on Matthew 6:25-33…it will do wonders for you.
If you are getting sucked into the money trap, start giving away what you have. True wealth, along with the joy and satisfaction that comes from it, comes from leveraging 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 rat race with the Jones’, just stop. Who cares? So what if they have a bigger house, a better car, and enjoy more exotic vacations than you? 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 holy weed killer—get rich toward God and watch the Kingdom grow in your life.
“I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” ~David Livingstone
What If God Took Over?
Spend time today meditating on one of the verses mentioned in this post. Read it, memorize it, pray it and get intentional about implementing what it says in your life today.