The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. Matthew 13: 22 (NLT)
What is competing with God for your time today? Your job, career, kids, family, bills, mortgage, health, and recreation? Maybe it is a lack of a job, lack of relationships, inability to pay the bills, a health problem, or any number of other things that creep into our day to day and minute to minute existence. Let's face it this life is full of distractions beloved. But when you try to read the Word are you thinking about your boyfriend? When someone gives you a word, are you wondering what to make for dinner? When you see a Bible verse on Facebook are you too busy on Farmville to notice? Or to stop and really consider what God might be saying to you? We all face the thorns in life and they can choke out the Word God is trying to send to us. Consider when David sinned with Bathsheba. He coveted, lusted, committed adultery and ultimately murder. Plus he had all of the regular distractions of being king and running a nation. God sends a Word to him through the Prophet Nathan. A story about a poor man who only owned one little ewe lamb which his family loved very much. A rich man was entertaining a traveler but instead of using one of his own livestock, he killed the poor man's ewe lamb to serve as supper for the stranger. Blinded by the thorns in his life, here was David's answer:
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity." 2Samuel 12: 5-6 (NIV)
David of course was that man. Despite getting a word directly from God, he simply could not see it until Nathan screamed at him that he was the man in the story. We do not have the luxury of a Nathan in our lives to scream at us when we are simply not hearing what God is trying to say to us. I have heard many Christians say that God does not speak to them and my answer is the same are you listening? Are you seeking His voice in His Word, wherever you can find it? Do you sit in church and find your mind wandering during the sermon? Wondering where you are going to lunch? Thinking about the football game later. Worrying about work the next day, the car payment next month, the stock market next year? Do you hear the title of the sermon and think it has nothing to do with you? Do you find yourself constantly thinking all the words you see and hear would be "perfect" for someone else? Do you see who the speaker is and dismiss the message out of hand? God spoke through a donkey once He can speak through anything! But are we listening? Are we expecting to hear from Him? Sometimes in the overly spiritualized American Christianity experience we think that God is going to descend from the heavens and bellow out His will for us directly into our bedrooms. It doesn't work that way! Yes God spoke to Moses through a burning bush but that does not mean you should be waiting for another. Don't let the thorns of this life distract you from seeking a Word from God.
The final outcome is the positive one where the seed falls on fertile soil and here are the Words of Jesus:
The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!" Matthew 13: 23 (NLT)
The farmer in this parable is obviously God and the seed is His Word. He expects us to be good soil for His Word once we have accepted His gracious gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins. Salvation is not the end point it is the starting line because before it, we were not even in the race! Jesus is saying here that we need to truly hear and understand the Word if we are to see a harvest. That indicates that we may be able to hear and even understand the Word but not truly do so. Not do so as God would want us to. That is because there is a difference between understanding what a text says and comprehending what God is saying to you through it! You can read the verse in the Bible that says, "Jesus wept" and understand that this means that at that point in time, Jesus was crying. But only the Holy Spirit can convey to you that God is saying that it is ok for you to cry too. Or that our Savior felt the same feelings we deal with every day. The truth is you can look at "Jesus wept" 10 different times and God can say ten different things to you, all depending on what you need. That is the God we serve! That is the power of His Word!
But only if you are seeking His voice. Only if you are seeking the Spirit's help in understanding His Word. Only if our walk has deep roots and we are not found in the shallow soil. Only if you are not allowing the distractions of this life to choke his Word off. God desires a relationship with you. That requires both of you talking and both of you listening and both of you seeking. He has a Word for you today. Seek it.