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Worry Can Choke Out Seeds of the Gospel

Symbolizing the importance of agriculture to Nebraska, a massive statue of a sower scattering seed is set atop the state capitol building in Lincoln. The bronze statue weighs 9.5 tons, stands 19.5 feet tall, and is placed on a 12.5-foot-high pedestal molded to look like corn and wheat. The “Sower” took sculptor Lee Lawrie 13 years to create; it was finally installed in 1930.

From Jesus’ familiar parable of the sower, we can learn another significant lesson about worry. Among the four types of soil in this story, our focus is on the third: “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants” (v. 7). Jesus provided the interpretation: “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful” (v. 22). In a parallel passage, it “stands 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” (Luke 8:14).

The “worries of this life” include food and clothing (see Nov. 1–3), employment, children’s education, and retirement. They’re normal and natural, but when they take over they’re nothing but “thorns.” The “deceitfulness of wealth” refers to the fact that money can make us feel in control, as a result of which we tend to put our trust in it (see Nov. 7–10). We are deceived if we think and act as if money can save us or is a worthy object of faith.

The consequences of worry are disastrous. It strangles trust in God. It makes us faithless and fruitless. We remain spiritually immature and fail to live out “the message about the kingdom” (v. 19), that is, the gospel. We become like salt that has lost its saltiness (see Matt. 5:13).

Apply the Word

Despite Scripture’s clarity about it, we Christians are often culturally influenced to take worry lightly. For example, we might whitewash the sin of worry in the name of planning. Isn’t anxiety about a plan just natural? We must remember that our plans should be dominated not by worry or pride but by faith in and submission to the Lord (James 4:13–16).

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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