In the parable of the sower, Jesus said in Luke 8:7,
“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.”
Yesterday’s Gospel reading was on the parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-15). The emphasis in this parable is not on the seed or the sower but rather on the soil which is the final determining factor as to whether or not the seed bears fruit. Jesus tells us that there are basically four types of soil from which seeds can grow. Therefore, it is perhaps more appropriate to call this parable the Parable of the Soils. We read that the seed falls on four types of soil, and three out of four reject it. If we have experienced any kind of crop failure in our spiritual life, it is perhaps because God's word is preached but we don't hear it or accept it.
The third type of soil that Jesus talks about is the one that is choked by weeds (thorns), which represent the cares and riches of this world. This category is perhaps where most Christians fall into. This third type of soil is the most disappointing part of this parable. The soil that could have produced greatness produces a jungle! A soil that produces weeds has great potential. It must be good fertile soil, otherwise weeds would not grow there. Good soil has so much potential that weeds can actually burst through asphalt and concrete. But as Jesus says, the thorns grow quick and fast, and they soon choke the seed.
There are a lot of good people represented here in this type of soil. They receive the
word of God and they really want to serve God, but they become involved in so many other
interests that God is gradually choked out. It is not that the things that we are busy with that
are necessarily bad, they actually may be good things, but they drain our energies and
turn our hearts away from Christ. So many activities that are good clutter up our lives that they become the enemy of Christ. Jesus poses a question to each one of us: what thorns are we permitting to grow in our own life that choke out our loyalty to God?
Consider Judas Iscariot. He was one of the 12 original disciples of Christ. What an honor! God had put him in a great position to serve and do great things for Him. He had great potential. Only 12 people were chosen to be disciples of Christ. Christ had given him a very high position. He was well educated and he held the money box. But gradually, the love of the world, greed, and fame completely choked his spiritual life. Consider the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). God gave the rich man tremendous resources (money) and put him in a great position to serve the poor, and instead, he became choked up in his riches and his possessions. He didn’t even notice the poor man Lazarus on his doorstep. Consider the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). God placed them in positions of authority in the church with a great potential to make a difference in people’s spiritual lives, and they became choked up with their own importance and self-righteousness. Not only do riches choke us up, but worry and anxiety (which Jesus calls cares) also choke us up. Worry and anxiety creates a paralysis in our spiritual lives that makes us unable to serve God. Recall what Jesus said to Martha: “Martha, Martha, you worry and fret about so many things, but it is Mary who has chosen the better part” (Luke 10:41).
We must admit here that there are times when we are any one of the three poor types of soil or
perhaps we are a strange combination of all of them. The point that Jesus is making here is that
our soil can always be improved. Hard soil can be plowed; rocks and thorns can be removed.
By care and cultivation, our hearts can become fertile and productive, like the “good soil"
that produces a hundredfold. The person who is the good soil is the one who is balanced in their life.