by Kathy Matuschka
Click here to download your printable verse to carry with you today.
Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life choke the word, making it unfruitful (Mark 4:18,19).
It is so easy to categorise ourselves and others in this parable. We might pray: ‘Dear Lord, don’t let me be the one who is so choked by thorns that I become unfruitful. I want to be productive for your kingdom.’ As if we are afraid that we’ll let God down.
I’ve often wished to have a life free of challenges and difficulties so that I can be the Christian I’d like to be, praising God in perfection and purity! But I know that if I do not face personal challenges, I tend to become self-righteous.
Why didn’t the sower pull out the thorns before sowing so that the crop would be less compromised? One reason thorns were retained in the fields was to provide fuel for a fire, to keep the workers warm. So, thorns have their purpose.
Each of us faces thorny bushes at some time in our lives. Thorny experiences remind us that the kingdom of God and its harvest is not about us and our exemplary faithfulness. When we experience a fruitful harvest, it can be so easy to believe it is the result of our wonderful soil management and weed control. But that is not true.
One of the mysteries of the kingdom of God is the thorns that could reduce our fruitfulness can also be the stimulus to stop admiring our own efforts and instead dig deep into God’s mercy and provision.
And one more thing: As we strive to be good followers of Jesus, we can be surprised to discover that some of the thorns are not only surrounding us but are also within us.
Dear Jesus, it’s hard to give thanks for thorns, but I do thank you for the opportunity thorns provide to better understand your grace and my need for it. Please help me to keep my focus on you and not on the thorns. Amen.