Luke 8:14 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.
The problem with weeds is that they suck the soil of its nutrients. They prosper at the expense of the plant that you are hoping will flourish. The weeds in the parable of the sower are the cares, riches and pleasures of life. Cares here, refers to worry. It refers to excessive concern over one’s welfare. These are people who get so concerned with the affairs of life that they have no time to think about the more important matters of the soul and their walk with God. They hear the Gospel and may even find it attractive, but they have no time. Maybe later when they get settled, when the children get grown, when life calms down somewhat. Weeds that choke the Gospel seed.
And then there are the constant allurements of money and comfort. Life goals are restricted to getting a house, a career, college for the kids. It takes so much energy and time to get ahead, to get out of debt, to keep oneself out of the poor house. Who’s got time to focus on the immaterial matters of the soul? And therein lies the problem. It is not wrong to work to pay the mortgage or the rent. One should think ahead regarding one’s retirement and college expenses for the kids. People need to care for themselves and their families. But when the desire for things and worry over things become the primary concern then there is no room for God and that is what Jesus is describing here. Materialism, love of money, comfort, things, fame …. As Jesus said, you cannot love both God and money. They both demand your complete allegiance as Masters. You cannot serve two masters.
But those who serve the gods money and pleasure and excessive worry are not just those who overtly reject the Gospel. Churches are full of people who have enough religion to satisfy them but who never allow God to get in the way of their pursuit of money and things. They are those who believe that people of faith are promised wealth and health. The wealth and health however, become more important than God. They love the gift more than the Giver and if the Giver does not come through for them they bail. They are those who find status in their church or who have power there that they would never surrender. Suggest that they step down from their position and you just might get hurt. They all have one thing in common. They love something more than they love God. Jesus Christ is not the passion of their hearts. Their comfort and influence are. They do not have Christ. They are not saved and as long as these other concerns remain as strong as they are, they never will be. It is a tragedy of immense proportions.
This is what characterizes our culture. Giving the Gospel to such people is challenging but it is not impossible. These people need to hear that there is something that is more satisfying, more lasting, more real than the things that have captured their hearts. Jesus is better. We need to emphasize that when we leave this world we go out empty. They need to ask themselves the question that Jesus posed “What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” For those who are rich this is a great obstacle. It is why Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom.
It is also a great obstacle to those who are bombarded constantly with messages that they should be be rich, since they are not. The message to them is that “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (I Timothy 6:9)
In a culture whose God is money, which is what our culture is, we need to pray that God will unplug the ears of those who can only hear the sound of money; to open the eyes of those who are blinded by the glitter of gold; to enable them to smell the aroma of Christ and find it desirable. Only God can overcome the power of the worries of life and the enticement of riches. And He does. We know He does because He has done it so many times already.
We need to be on constant guard that we do not bow down to the idols of money and pleasure. What our culture needs is living examples of people who value something far more than they value money or fame or popularity and who show real faith in God when things are tough and do not give in to worry. Jesus is worth more than money and in Him do we find our greatest delight. Let us not be marked by the thinking and behaviour of those who are damning their own souls in their commitment to everything but Christ.