The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

The parable of the sower: “and that which fell among thorns..” (PDF) PDF version

The parable of the sower: “and that which fell among thorns..”

The Word of God very clearly describes certain things that make the heart weary and heavy and the seed of the Word barren, unfruitful i.e. though the seed is there, it does not bring forth the fruit that it is supposed to bring. Here is what the Lord Jesus said in Luke 21:34:

Luke 21:34
"But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.


There are certain things that make our hearts to be weighed down i.e. they make it heavy and weary, hard, indifferent and cold. And though many of us may not have a problem with “dissipation and drunkenness” (anyway these are condemned as obvious sins by most Christians and many times by non-Christians too) what about “cares of this life”? What the Lord is telling us here is that cares of this life, cares of making it, “surviving” in this life can make your heart heavy and hard, if you are preoccupied with them; if all your effort is about making it today; if you are too busy with this life and its cares.

Moreover, the Lord said in the parable of the sower concerning the third category of those who hear the Word:

Mark 4:18-19
“And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.


As the Lord makes it clear: preoccupation with the cares of this world, the cares of this life, plus the deception of riches and the lust of other things are enemies to the seed of the Word so much so that if they take place in our heart they will choke the seed of the Word and make it barren and unfruitful. In other words, the cares of this life, the riches and the desires of other things CANNOT co-exist in our heart with the Word of God. One of the two will have to go. It is either the one or the other. Not both. This fits also with what the Lord said concerning money:

Matthew 6:24
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”


You cannot serve two masters at the same time. If you want to follow God, if you want life and peace, if you want the seed of the Word to grow and give fruit then you have to give up your pre-occupation with caring about what the world cares, with money and the lusts for other things as the Word cannot grow together with these. You cannot be an alien and a stranger in this world (1 Peter 2:11) and at the same time be part of the world’s system. It is not possible! If you somehow believe that you can manage both together then you deceive yourself. You may say: “Oh brother you do not understand my situation.” I do! I’m also having a job and a family with 3 small kids. And what I’m writing I write it out of experience. I cannot work daily for 12 hours and expect to grow with a 10 minutes devotional in the morning and a Sunday morning sermon. It will not happen! We do not need just quality time with the Lord. We also need quantity time. We need teachings of the Word to be fed. We need to shift our interest from the world to the Word. Then growth will come just like growth comes to newborn babies when they drink their milk. As the Word says:

I Peter 2:2
“As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby”


If you do not drink the milk of the Word but instead you feed yourself with the garbage of the world, do not wonder that you are not growing but you feel weak and weary. Only the Word of God can bring increase.


The trap of cares, riches and lusts for other things: what to do

Now the good news is that the above described situation can change and you can start growing and giving fruit again. What is needed is that you stop being preoccupied with cares, money and desires for other things and instead focus your attention to God and His Word. In fact I believe it is the other way around: as you make space for God and His Word you will lose interest about money, worldly desires, ambitions and cares. This interest will fade away as you start drinking from the milk of the Word and focus on God as your first and foremost priority. And as you do this, growth, life and peace is going to come back again. You need to “get busy” with the Word and its teachings. Now to be able to do this you may need to do some adjustments. For example you may need to slow down at work and put limits. Now let me make clear here: I’m not saying that work is bad. In contrast as the Word says: “if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). To work therefore as a mean to earn your bread is no problem at all. In fact it something that we are obliged to do it! It is a blessing that God gave us! What I believe however is a problem - apart from not working - is to over-work and by this I mean to work far and above from what you need to earn your bread and to the point that apart from work there is no space for anything else in your life i.e. work is a blessing but to be workaholic is a problem. You may also need to manage your time better, removing time devoted in watching TV, surfing to worldly sites or overindulgence with hobbies. If you commute to work, you need to find good teachings of the Word and listen to them. You need to change. Staying unfruitful is not an option and it is entirely opposite to what the Lord said:

John 15:16
“I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain”


And earlier He warns us:

John 15:1-6
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.


A true follower of the Lord abides in Christ and as a result brings forth fruit. Not abiding in the vine means unfruitfulness for only by abiding in the vine can we bring forth fruit, walking in the works that God has already prepared for us. Being then unfruitful – because of our preoccupation with the world instead of preoccupation with the Word - is not just a sorry yet still acceptable state. It is in fact a very dangerous state that has to be changed immediately. For more on this, please read the exhaustive study: Salvation according to Jesus and His apostles.

We are chosen to bring forth fruit. Yet, as we said, this will not happen if we allow the seed of the Word to be choked by the thorns of the riches, the desires of other things and the cares of this life.

The Lord dealt with the issue of cares and riches in more passages than the ones we have seen up to now. Here is another revealing passage:

Luke 12:15-31
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? "And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.


Do not worry about your life what you will eat and your body what you will put on. God is going to take care of you brother and sister. You do not need to worry about such things nor do you need to care about riches and other things. The people in the world care about such things. Their attention is how to make it today and once this is past then how to become rich and how to acquire more things. But we are not the same. We belong in a different kingdom. We have our wonderful God and Father that takes care of us. To us the top and foremost priority is not how to make it in this world, how to survive, how to become rich or how to get a more luxurious house or car. Instead our top priority is, and ought to be, God and His Kingdom. “Seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you” (Luke 12:31) says the Word. If however instead of being preoccupied with the Word you are preoccupied with the cares of this world, the riches and the desires of other things then the seed that once was sown to your heart is going to dry and together with it you will dry too. And this should not happen! See here the solemn warning of our Lord:

John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Also 1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”


Let us please take these matters very seriously and let us get out of the traps of cares, riches and desires of other things.

Concerning in particular the deceit of riches and the desire of other things: I do not really understand why so many go after riches calling it “prosperity” when the Word says:

1 Timothy 6:7-10
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”


Brother and sister: do you have food and clothing? If you do then be content!! You do not need anything more!! But if you desire to be rich, if you covet after things, then you are heading for a snare. You do not need to accumulate wealth and riches. You do not belong here and you are not going to take it with you. You just need your needs covered and for this you don’t need to worry at all. God has given you a promise: seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and what you need will be added to you.



To summarize: we are aliens and strangers in this world. This world is not our home as a hymn says. We are citizens of heaven, called by God to go forth and bring fruit. Yet the Word of God that was sown into our hearts has a deadly subtle enemy that can make it barren. It is called “cares of this life, deceitfulness of riches and desires of other things”. Many of us are preoccupied with these things and despite the dryness and weakness we see as a result we do not really attribute the issue to our preoccupation with the wrong things. Also the church does not seem to explicitly condemn these either. Thus many of the Christians that fill the churches on Sundays are actually weak and dry as the problem is not revealed openly and the solution to it is not given. But this does not have to stay like this. Christian life means peace, life and fellowship with God and His Son. Please remember the joy, the peace, the life you had when you first believed in the Lord. This is supposed to be with you forever! And if it is not there it can come back again. All that you need to do is to change priorities and seek God as your top and foremost priority. God and His joy have not changed. You have changed and that is why the joy has disappeared. You need to be fed with the Word, daily, with big doses, indulging yourself to it instead of “indulging” in cares, riches and desires of other things. You need to seek God, His will, His Kingdom and His righteousness. Thenn everything else will be added to you.

Now to close this article, let’s go to Hebrews 11:13. There, after the Word spoke in the preceding verses about some Old Testament saints that walked in faith, it says:

Hebrews 11:13-16
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were aliens and strangers on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. ”


We, like them, are aliens and strangers on the earth. For us, as for them, there is a homeland different than the country of our passport. There is a mansion built up for us in heaven. Let us make as much fruit as possible in our life, for the time is short (our life - be it 70, 80 or 90 years – passes very quickly. If you are above 40 you perhaps understand better what I mean). Let the end of our life find us like Paul saying:

2 Timothy 4:7
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

And John 14:2-3
“In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Anastasios Kioulachoglou