By Christin Ditchfield Lazo

Reading from the Gospel of Luke, 8:1-15

1 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

4 When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5“A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. 7Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

9 Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that
‘looking they may not perceive,
   and listening they may not understand.’

11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. 14As 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. 15But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.”

Meditation

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains that the seed — the life-changing, life-giving Word of God — falls on different kinds of soil. Some seed grows quickly, but just as quickly withers and dies. Some never takes root at all. But some falls among the thorns, which grow up and choke the life out of the tender plants.

This is the verse I think should really grab our attention today — those of us who are committed Christ-followers. As Jesus tells his disciples, it’s the “thorns” or “weeds” we have to watch out for:

“As for what fell among the thorns, these are [the people] who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked and suffocated with the anxieties and cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not ripen (come to maturity and perfection)” (Amplified Version).

It’s easy for any of us to be choked by these troublesome thorns. Some are obvious threats, while others may be good things that become bad, when they keep us from what’s best. That’s why Jesus calls us to continually lay our hearts before him, the master gardener. We do this when we carefully consider:

Is anything there keeping us from being effective? Productive? Fruitful? Healthy and mature in our relationship with Christ?

What might possibly be choking the “life” out of us?

We invite him to pull out the thorns, through confession, repentance, and prayer. And we experience healing in the light of his love. He refreshes us with “living water.” And he promises that if we continue to live our life rooted in him, it will grow full of good fruit!

Christin Ditchfield Lazo, Th.M., is a best-selling author, conference speaker, and syndicated radio host, passionate about calling believers to a deeper life of faith.

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