Jump Start # 3220
Luke 8:14 “And the seed which ell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”
Our verse today, from the Lord’s parable about the sower, illustrates how God’s word can be shut down and made powerless because of what we invite into our hearts. Worries, riches and pleasures are weeds that take over. They grow aggressively within us. And, before long, the Word of God has no place within us. Rather than letting the Word of Christ richly dwell within us, as the apostle wrote, it dies. It dies because of a heart tangled with thorns, thistles and weeds.
The word ‘worry’ comes from an old expression that means to “strangle.” The text states, “choked.” Crowded out. Pushed out. Squeezed out. No room. That’s the idea. And, the reason it got that way was because of a heart that pursued the glitter of this world. The riches, the pleasures and the worries that follow, filled a life and a heart and the word could not find a place.
Let’s think about this idea of “choked out.”
First, what doesn’t grow are the things that ought to grow. I see this illustrated every spring and summer in my place. We have lots of flowers. I have to weed often, very often. And, when we are gone for a week or so, what a mess we come home to. The weeds take over so fast. I don’t want weeds. I want flowers. What ought to grow, can’t because of the weeds. The same is true spiritually of us. God’s word ought to fill our hearts and we ought to be growing more and more like Christ. Our character should reflect kindness, grace, love and forgiveness. Our hearts need those things. We develop those from a steady diet of God’s word. But when our time is taken with riches and pleasures and then we worry about those things, those precious qualities of Christ are squeezed out. We find ourselves not as kind as we once were. We find our selves occupied with the present. We see ourselves in a hurry to get worship over so we can do the things we want to do. And when the weeds take over, it’s not a pretty sight. No one compliments me on the weeds. No ones says, “love the weeds, Roger. You’re doing a great job.” Most times, I’m embarrassed for anyone to see the flower gardens until I have worked and worked in them.
Second, weeds grow fast. Weeds will grow when nothing else will. Have a drought, the weeds will grow. A real rainy season? The weeds grow. Hot? The weeds grow. Cold? The weeds grow. If you leave the weeds, when you get back to them, you have so much more to do. They multiply fast. No one plants weeds, they just seem to pop up over night. Riches, pleasures and worries work the same way. They keep us up at night. They fill our conversations. They become our dreams. Our lives become obsessed with riches, pleasures and worries.
Third, there is a way to deal with weeds. You have to get them out of the garden. Pull them. Spray them. Dig them up. Put down preventatives. Put down plastic. I’ve done it all. It’s a battle. Winter is the only relief. And, spiritually, it’s the same way. You can’t take your foot off the accelerator. You have to stay at it. You have to push yourself. You have to be alert. You have to be diligent. You have to get that Bible open. You have to get down to the church building for worship. You have to work and work and work. If you don’t the weeds come and the good things get choked.
Fourth, it’s a disaster spiritually when God gets choked out of our hearts. Will the riches get us to Heaven? Nope. Will the pleasures do it? Nope. Will worry help us? Never. And, when God is no longer the center of our lives, we travel without a compass. We are blown every which way. We chase every fad. We believe every pied piper. The advice of friends becomes more important than the word of God. The trends of today mean more to us than God does, when a heart is choked.
The solution in all of this is to make room. Something has to go. Some things don’t belong. Some things are not helpful. Pull the weeds. Say “no,” to self and others. A beautiful heart can turn ugly because of the weeds allowed to grow within it.
Choked…not a pretty sight. Maybe it’s time to do something…maybe it’s time to pull some weeds