Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Thorny Soil of my Life

This morning I was reading a very familiar passage the Parable of the Sower and was surprised to note an important detail I hadn't noticed before. This parable tells the story of the seed (The Word of God) falling on the different types of soil (the lives of the hearers). In hearing this story so many times throughout my life, I always thought that the thorny, weedy soil that chokes out the plants was symbolic of the big sins distracting know, those really big ones that I don't feel are a huge temptation to me. I thought I was doing pretty well where this parable was concerned.

However, look at what Jesus says the thorns & weeds symbolize:
"The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who
hears the word, but the worries of this life and the
deceitfulness of wealth
choke it, making it unfruitful."

"Worries of life," "deceitfulness of wealth"...hold on a second! Those aren't the "big sins" that are easy for me to avoid. They're 2 of the biggest issues I face in my life on a daily basis!

Worries of this life - I've mentioned here that I have a tendency to be a worrier. I come by it honestly- I always used to tease my mom about how much she worried (oh, how the tables have turned now that I'm an adult & mother). I worry about my daughter, I worry about my parenting, I worry about our finances, I worry about my health...I overanalyze & over-think things... & I worry. Yet, this is one of the 2 things that choke the Word and prevent it from being fruitful! My worrying can prevent my life from being fruitful to God!

Deceitfulness of wealth - I was just thinking about this concept of wealth being deceitful the other day. To be candid for a moment: I finally felt like we were at a financial position where the daunting adoption costs that are looming on the horizon would be manageable. I was starting to feel comfortable & self-reliant... & even rather proud of us. And then suddenly....large, unexpected medical costs and we're suddenly back to square one- worried about how it's all going to be paid for. But isn't that the deceitfulness of wealth? We're deceived into feeling comfortable, thinking we're in control, and that we did it all ourselves. And then pride emerges.

I've been reading lately about the fact that God's goal for our lives isn't for us to be comfortable. In fact, it's when we're uncomfortable that we're able (or forced to) rely on God and not ourselves. We're able to see His provision without being clouded by our own ability. I think comfort is something God asks us to sacrifice to do His work. When we get too comfortable financially, that's the cue that it's time to be more generous, to give more away and rely on God to use us as a steward (a middle man) of His generosity. That's not to say building a retirment fund or being wise is bad. It's just to note that wealth can be deceitful and that comfort, where wealth is concerned, is a slippery slope.

So, 2 things in life I really need to do a better job of keeping in check so that God's purpose for me, His word to my life specifically isn't choked out.

What about you? Does the true meaning of the choking weeds & thorns surprise you or hit close to home for you, too?


Casey said...

Thanks for posting this Mandy....I too am a huge worrier. I think it got worse as I came a mother, which is only natural--but I can definitely take it to an unhealthy level.

Each night before bed I read my very favorite devotional, "Jesus Calling," by Sarah Young. No matter how tired I am, I take a minute to read her words and the scripture that goes along with it. It really helps me refocus, and to realize that worrying doesn't get me anywhere.

Thanks again for sharing!

Kristen said...

i am so grateful for your heart and your desire to share what you're learning along the journey of life, mandy. this was such a excellent challenge and reminder. thank you sharing this post.

benjyjen said...

Yes, yes, and yes... I have choking weeds and thorns all through my life. Thank you for your thoughts, transparency, and honesty. What powerful reminders of where our every being needs to rest... in Christ. Thank you, Mandy...