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.
Wild blackberry bushes flourish along the county road which runs behind our property. I keep a watchful eye on them, assessing their progress, alerted to the best time to go berry picking.
This is the first summer that my son, Daniel, and daughter, Sarah, beg to come along.
"I want to help, Mom!" Daniel says when I announce my intentions.
"Me, too!" Sarah chimes in, never on to bear being left out of anything.
"Okay," I tell them, "but, we'll have to go pretty early in the morning. Otherwise, it will be too hot outside."
Morning arrives, and with it, unbridled excitement and enthusiasm on my children's part. They gobble down their breakfast, hastily brush their teeth, and grab their buckets before I've cleared the table.
"C'mon, Mom, can't those wait? We're ready to go!" Daniel says impatiently.
"Just let me soak them and grab my hat and we'll be all set."
Within the minute, pails in tow, we head out. The morning air is still cool, but humid. A cloudless blue sky promises a scorcher by noontime if not before.
We walk down the trail through our woods to the back gate. Well, I walk. Daniel and Sarah are running, hopping, skipping, cavorting, and breathless when I finally catch up to them.
I open the gate. We pass through a thicket of young pines and pop out blinking in the bright sunlight.
"Right over there," I point. "See?"
My children, all smiles, race each other to the brambly bushes laden with sweet, juicy berries. And, briars.
"Ouch!" I hear repeatedly.
"Be careful!" I caution.
We pick and pick and pick. Within a half an hour, I am perspiring profusely. Beads of sweat gather on my children's faces. Sarah's wispy bangs cling wetly to her forehead.
"Can we go home now?" Daniel asks. "It's too hot out here."
All the fervor, the energy, the exhilaration is gone. Sapped by the oppressive heat.
And, because they eat more blackberries than they collect, there isn't much to show for their efforts.
"Yes," I tell them, "it's time to go home."
Did you ever look forward to something with eagerness and excitement only to be disappointed?
Will you pray with me?
When the thorns of worry and care prick us, Father, help us to ever turn to you for comfort and solace. May Your Word grow strong and solid roots in our hearts so that we can face life's difficulties and disappointments with grace and courage. Amen.
Psalms 78:1-39 or 78:40-72
1 Timothy 2:1-6