Luke 8:14 “The seed that fell among the thorns stand for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature.”
Nobody I know makes it their goal in life to live in poverty. But historically God’s people have not handled prosperity very well. It tends to corrupt more than it blesses. That is Jesus’ picture here.
The problem is that “prosperity” too easily transforms into “worldliness.” If we could accept that the material world in which we live is all headed for the ash heap–there is no saving anything here, only applying a few band aids and fixes to keep it going a little longer; if we could be content with what we have been given and stop obsessing about having more; if we could see things mostly as tools to serve people and share the gospel with them; if we could trust God’s promise to take care of every need; if we cared more about a real heaven to come than an artificial one we try to build on earth; then prosperity would present no particular temptation.
Then we would worry less about who gets elected, how my retirement funds are doing, where the unemployment rate stands today, whether the polar ice cap is melting, whether they are coming to take away my guns, which news is fake and which news is real, and whether I am getting my fair share.
Then we would go and live our faith. We would go to work and do our job faithfully. We would love our neighbor, no matter how he looks or thinks. We would be good stewards of the things God has given us to manage. We would speak up for those who need someone to speak up for them. We would raise our families to know that Jesus is the best thing there is, and we would tell our friends. We would dig deep so that people all over the world could know it, too. We wouldn’t worry. We wouldn’t obsess. We wouldn’t hoard. We would believe, and then we would go and live, because we have Jesus and all that his forgiving grace promises.
But as powerful as God’s word is, faith can be “choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures.” If we will not let these things go, we will not mature. All our scurrying around trying to build a little utopia right here on earth makes us of little use to God or man. Don’t let worldly distractions strangle our faith all the way to death.