I went for a walk last night. I needed to focus my thoughts and slow the many that were racing. I began as a stereotype of our times—with my headphones blaring, but I soon removed them. The running music and the loud thoughts together were getting in the way. I had a lot on my mind and I needed to think clearly. I needed to figure somethings out. While I was doing my best to manage my fears and anxiety this passage providentially came to mind. It came, not while in prayer, but while seeking answers apart from it.
Matthew 13:22 (NAS): 22 “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Jesus is speaking to the crowds in parables; a kind of revelation in a riddle, but only to those who have ears to hear. The passage is from the parable of the sower. In part, it’s a means of explaining why some who reject Him don’t have ears to hear.
Consumed with my thoughts, the timely recollection exposed the folly and, more importantly, the danger of trying to managing my fears.
I had never considered until that moment that, in the mind of Christ, there are worries that are particular to the world that are antithetical to the fruitfulness of the word.Tweet
The Character of Anxiety
These are worries that are characterized by the world and it’s not hard to figure out what they are. They have become familiar companions. They can be reduced in any age to, how will I maintain the lifestyle I’ve set my affections on.
Jesus brings the worldly worries together with the deceitfulness of wealth. They are a fit pair. The deception of wealth is that it is the answer to all of our worries—the means to the lifestyle we pursue. All the while, it continues to allude our grasp. It stays just beyond our reach. It’s close enough to entice, but far enough to cause fear and anxiety.
These are not simply moral vices to be avoided.
Worry and the deceitfulness of wealth, according to Christ, have the power to choke the word of God out of me.Tweet
It’s capable of taking from me what has been sown in me. I had to let that thought settle on me. I needed the gravity. In the words of Jesus, even what I have will be taken from me, because of worry.
Worry Is No Trivial Matter
What a sobering moment. My fears and anxiety are not to be managed as unfortunate companions. I needed to humble myself and cast them upon the Lord.
1 Peter 5:6–7 (NAS): 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
In our world, worry has become so common and accepted. If you’re not worrying you’re not trying. We have taken fire into our bosom believing we won’t be burned. But worry is no trivial matter. It has the power to rob you of the fruitfulness of the very word of God sown in your life. The quick and powerful word of God can be rendered unfruitful. By worry, what has been given can be taken away.
So what’s the answer? What’s to be done. I had to humble myself. Trying to manage what I had to worry about was an exercise in pride. If I could manage them, there would be no need to worry. They required someone bigger and more capable than me. I needed to cast them on the Lord.