A Tale of Four Soils, Part 3

26 Oct

As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones 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.” (Luke 8:14 NRSV)

There is a popular phrase these days that helps us put life in perspective: “That’s a first-world problem!

For example: “My ice maker won’t make crushed ice.”  First world problem!  In other places, they don’t have refrigerators, or a consistent source of electrical power that would allow them to keep food from spoiling… assuming they have food.  And that fact that we have ice at all means we didn’t have to walk 2 miles to the stream we share with other villagers… and other wildlife!  In North America, we have to admit we have it pretty good.

Or do we?

This section of the parable could describe many modern North American Christians.  We have riches and pleasures that many will never know.  And we’re choking. 

Three aspects of this parable fascinate me:

1.  Choking.  Notice what’s doing the choking: cares, riches, and pleasures.  These are good things, right?  But a noose made of the finest silk is still a noose!  The verse above has Jesus explaining the parable to his Disciples.  But go back to the part where Jesus is originally telling the story to the crowd and see how he describes what is causing the choking: “Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it” (Luke 8:7 NRSV).

English: Rose Prickles

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So is it cares, riches, and pleasures… or thorns?  It seems Jesus sees them as the same thing.  I guess I should handle these things with care (maybe even with gloves!).

2.  The Plant.  Notice that the plant is not choked to death.  That’s good news, right?  It’s still alive!  It only gets choked to the point of not being able to produce fruit.  Some translations say that the plant never reaches maturity.

Have you ever been hurt by a fellow Christian who acted like a child?  As we often say in church leadership circles, someone has to be the adult in the room.  (By the way, the adult in the room is not always the Pastor!).  Perhaps we should all check our thorns at the door and be intent on growing to maturity.

3.  The Fruit.  This is the greatest tragedy of all to me.  I think in many cases people are content to just be alive.  But where’s the fruit?  And what fruit are we talking about?  Check out this list: “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal 5:22–23 NRSV).

Are we living without love… without joy…without peace?  Could it be those bothersome cares, riches, and pleasures that are to blame?

Sounds like a first-world problem….

How can we put cares, riches, and pleasures in their proper place to allow love, joy, and peace to flourish?   Join the conversation by leaving a comment!


Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Group Discussion


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2 responses to “A Tale of Four Soils, Part 3

  1. eweincharis

    October 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Honestly, I do have a problem with putting down the cares, riches and pleasures of this earth. Particularly because I come from an Asian Chinese background where parents often teach children to work hard for what you need. Hence, when I grew up, I begin to subconsciously think that if I had attained certain level of success in life i.e. in school or at work, then it means I had worked sufficiently hard for it and that I should enjoy the results that follow i.e. human’s recognition or money. It then goes on a vicious cycle because each time I experience that extra amount of recognition or money, I seem to to hunger for even more.

    I find that only by having a close personal relationship with Jesus on a daily basis will help me shed off that part of me bit by bit. As I begin to see God as One bigger than all things on this earth and discover the great amount of love, mercy and grace He has for us, I can’t help but fall in love with Him daily. It is then that I “naturally” put riches and pleasures lower down on my priority list in life. I dare not say I have attained a level where I have no more desire for such things, but I take faith that Jesus is the author and perfecter of my faith and so, as I wait to morph from a caterpillar into a butterfly, I will lift my hands to worship and praise Him.

    Also, it gives me great comfort to know that God is our provider for all things in life. He gives us air to breathe, food to eat, Word to feed on… Everytime I find myself starting to join the rat race of this world, I thank God that He reminds and assures me that He is the provider. And because of that, I rest in Him.

    • billhogan77

      October 27, 2012 at 12:52 am

      Well said! Sounds like you’ve discovered a great approach: falling in love daily with Jesus. Both cares and riches seem small next to him. Unfortunately, they get way more air time. Keep up your greatest pursuit, and thanks for sharing your approach!
      God’s richest blessings!

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