The parable of the sower is one of the toughest parables for me to read. Jesus really focuses in on my personal idols and it is a good but terribly difficult process.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
(Matthew 13:22 ESV)
This parable, particularly the section about the seed choked out by the “Cares of the world and the deceitfulness of money” is a strong warning to any Christian, like myself, who is interested in personal stewardship. It is easy for us to focus too much on money as an end in itself and not merely a means to an end. The end we should be focusing on is the progress of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
From a personal point I struggle with loving money and caring to much about things of this world. I wrestle with finding a balance between planning for the future of my children and being charitable with my money. I love my church, but when we were presented with the opportunity to purchase our church building, needing a huge down payment, my gut clenched.
I struggle with being charitable and giving to the work of God my church is doing. When the opportunity arises my love of money (in the bank especially) starts to reach out to choke me out. I know a lot of people struggle with this balance because I hear from them in my personal finance classes all the time asking how to balance the need for money in our culture with the Bible’s call to not serve money instead of God.
I don’t have a hard and fast answer. I wish I did. I have found that a Godly spouse is invaluable in pointing out your sinfulness and I constantly ask my wife if I am holding on too tight. She is good about telling me when I am being too stingy.
Me: Do you have an amount in your head you think we should give?
Wife: Yes, you go first.
Me: I was thinking X.
Wife: Oh, I was thinking 2X.
That usually helps me to know that the thorns are coming to choke me out.
I wish I had better answers for this topic; it is one that I am constantly processing and one I will probably write about more as time goes on. Jesus is constantly calling is to something greater than the temptations of this world. He constantly calls us to lay up our treasure in heaven and not in this world. Balancing that with the reality of needing money to survive should drive us to constant prayer and vigilance to ensure we are focusing our efforts in the right place.
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