“Back before we moved here,” Stan began, “there was a couple in our church who had been married for a long time.”
“How long?” I asked.
“Over fifty years,” Stan replied. “And on their anniversary one year, there was a gathering after a church service to help them celebrate.”
“How did that go?” I asked.
“It was terrific,” Stan responded. “And the husband had a story to tell about their first anniversary that reflected a truth for my faith walk I try not to forget.”
“The husband said that on their first anniversary, he bought his wife a single long-stem rose. With each subsequent year he added another rose.”
“So,” I replied, “on the fiftieth anniversary there were fifty roses?”
“That’s right!” Stan said. “But it wasn’t the story of the number of roses that impacted my faith walk, it was what the husband had not done with the first rose that he did with all of the others.”
“What had he not done, and then did?” I asked.
“That’s right. He said that when he handed his wife the first rose she got stuck by a thorn on the stem. Ever since that first rose, he carefully removed all of the thorns before giving the roses to his wife so that would not happen again.”
“Nice story, Stan,” I replied, “but how does that affect you and your faith walk?”
“It has to do,” he replied, “with what Jesus said about thorns and how they can impact how a person responds to God.”
Continuing, he added, “With that first rose the fellow gave his wife, the special moment was interrupted because she was stuck by a thorn. Same thing with my relationship with God. If I don’t keep the thorns out of my life, they will affect my faith walk with God.”
“What kind of thorns?” I asked.
“Jesus described them as worry, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for things other than what God has for me.”
“Those thorns,” he continued, “will choke out what God has for me. They need to be removed before they can do their damage!”
Bible verses to consider:
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 riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Matthew 13:22.
And others are the ones on whom the seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Mark 4:18, 19.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all you have for me through your provision of life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the privilege of knowing you and Jesus more deeply while you keep me here. Thank you, too, for the truth of what will choke out your word and make it unfruitful in my life. I confess that too often I allow your word in me to be choked out by worry and the pursuit of things other than you. Please forgive me. Help me in following your lead so I do not allow thorns in my life that will make unfruitful what you have for me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Getting stuck by a thorn hurts. Have you ever experienced getting physically stuck in that way? What about spiritually? What are some of the thorns that can impact our relationship with God? Do you have any of those in your life? If so, do you want to remove them? Why or why not? If you have such thorns that you want removed, do you know how to do that?