When I was a little girl I hated wearing turtle neck shirts. I felt like I was going to choke with that fabric all the way up my neck. Many a battle was waged between my mom and me on cold winter mornings due to my turtle neck phobia. I thought of a few of those battles when I read this scripture from Matthew last week. I will admit that I still don’t care for turtle necks but this passage made me stop and think about the things that choke me more than high necked sweaters.
Jesus explained to his disciples after telling this parable that the seed sown is the word of God planted in our hearts and the thorns are the things in life that snuff out or diminish the work of God. It made me stop and think about the thorns in my life; what’s choking my faith and making it hard to receive and grow God’s word and presence I wondered. I started to make a list of all those thorns and I came up with television, immoral thinking, lack of values and work ethic and mass media right away. I tell ya what though, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I couldn’t just blame it on “the world”. Most of the thorns choking me were of my own doing. It’s easy to place the blame on other people or influences but it became obvious after a wee bit of thinking that I had plenty of thorns of my own that I needed to trim
Each time we gossip or tell even the tiniest lie the thorns start closing in. Each time we judge others based on their appearance, status or income, the thorns squeeze a little tighter. Each day we put our personal and social needs ahead of our prayer time, those thorns take away a little more life. Each time we fail to see others through the eyes of Christ, we stunt our spiritual growth. Complaining, criticizing and being disrespectful are also like prime fertilizer to those thorns that choke out Christ’s light in our life. They are the noxious weeds that ruin the beautiful life we were created to be.
We need to tend our seed. God put us here on earth to share His love and His light. If there is something that’s choking that seed and preventing us from doing what He put us here to do, it’s time to get out the tools and get to work on the thorns and weeds! I suppose it’s also important to remember that we need to take care of our own thorns and weeds instead of worrying about somebody else’s. When my life on earth is complete, and I stand to be judged by God, I really don’t think He will ask me about the thorns among my neighbor’s seed. I’m quite certain I’ll be accountable only for my own. When I think about the choking thorns I need to start hackin away, it makes turtle neck shirts almost seem comfortable!
A Seed To Plant: Identify the things that are thorns in your life and ask God, the Master Gardener, to help you figure out how to up-root them so His love can sprout and grow in your life.
Blessings on your day!