Read: Numbers 5-6, Mark 4:1-20
Most of us have heard or read the parable of the sower more times than we can count. From Sunday school through to Sunday sermons, if you grew up in church, you’ve been aware of this story of Jesus’ for most of you life. If we had to place ourselves in a portion of the story, the majority of us would be tempted to claim the good ground. But if we’re telling the truth, we’ve probably all had more experience in the other kinds of soil than we’d like to publicly admit. Today, let’s talk about the thorns.
First, what is worry?
WORRY: To tease; to trouble; to harass with importunity (pressing solicitation; urgent request, application for a claim or favor, which is urged with troublesome frequency or pertinacity), or with care and anxiety.
Whom of us can claim that we have never worried and will never worry again? None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. If we’re alive, we’re bound to worry about something. Parents worry about their children. Some worry about how to pay the bills or where to find the next meal. Some worry about succeeding, others failure. Some worry about grades. Others still, worry about being alone while some worry about staying together.
We may not be able to stop the worry altogether, but we do have the ability to control it when it comes.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Luke 12:25-26 (NIV)
Jesus compared worry to thorns. Weeds. Unwanted growth.
Say you plant a garden. You pick a spot with plenty of sun. It is close to a water source, yet it drains well. You’ve added soil and done all that you can to ensure a fruitful garden. You pick your seeds and plan your plots. Once the seeds are in the ground, you are careful to water, but not too much. You shoo away birds that would snatch the seeds or cats that would disturb your neat rows. Before too long, your little seeds start to sprout. Row by row little bright green leaves peek through the dark soil. But wait! That one isn’t in line! It doesn’t look like a cucumber or carrot. It’s a weed. What are you going to do about it?
Most of us accept worry as a part of life. It just is. It can’t be helped. But if it can’t be helped, why would Jesus tell us not to do it?
Like your carefully planned garden, worry, like a weed, can be uprooted. It can be removed and tossed away to die. No one wanting the largest harvest possible will stand for weeds sucking up all the nutrients from the soil and choking out the productive plants. Those weeds need to go. So does worry.
Even the best-prepared soil can sprout weeds. But the diligent gardener will remove them before any damage is done.
Don’t entertain worry. There is no benefit in it. Worry takes our focus away from those things which have already been promised to us. And not only that, but it implies that our trust in God is not implicit.
Worry generally stems from a fear of lack, not having enough or not being enough. So when that little thorny sprout shows up, you remind it who’s the boss. Pull it up and cast it away with this promise:
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 (NIV)