I’m no expert in serial killers, far from it.
But I did watch CSI once and I remember hearing that very often serial killers don’t look like people you might expect. You know, we expect them to look like these big, muscle-bound thugs; people we’d be afraid to meet on the street but many times instead they look like ordinary people, maybe even people we would be happy to see.
In his parable of the sowers, Jesus introduces to three serial killers and they definitely fit that profile…while we might be afraid of persecution, I mean that’s the musclebound thug, these three killers are all very ordinary.
The cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things…
“And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
Probably a better picture than that of a serial killer would be that of co-conspirators. The cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, the desire for other things…I guess I imagine these three as contenders for the throne of your heart. They’ve got this whole big conspiracy going on. I mean, they are all smiles, they seem so pleasant, they promise that they want your best.
But ha, ha, ha…
Once a challenger to throne of your heart appears, the true king; they start absolutely freaking out. They do not want to give up dominion over your life - and they are willing to go as far as committing murder if that’s what it takes.
Jesus says, the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for others things choke the word.
When it comes to benefiting from the word stuff, the desire for more stuff, is a real threat.
A fourth threat, sin.
That sounds so general I know so let me get more specific.
I don’t know, you might have seen that commercial where this guy is sitting at his cubicle eating this really loud cereal.
If you haven’t you can imagine, his boss comes up to him and just can’t believe it, so he starts yelling at him and finally gets so frustrated, he says “You are fired.“
But the guy sitting at the cubicle, chewing the cereal - it’s so loud - all he can hear is crunch, crunch, crunch.
When it comes to hearing the word, pride acts like that cereal.
If you want to identify the number one reason more people don’t benefit from hearing the Word, I’ve got to believe this is it. Pride keeps them from either really hearing it, understanding it, or submitting to it.
They are sitting there, looking like they are listening, but pride keeps them from getting the message. They just hear, crunch, crunch, crunch.
To me that’s kind of the punch line of the whole parable of the sowers.
Verses 10 and 11, “And when he was alone, those around him, with twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables…”
The secret? Revelation.
And why didn’t the other people get it? One big obvious reason is because they didn’t come to Jesus humbly in faith asking for it.
They thought they had it all figured out and so they didn’t come to Jesus for help.
Everything Jesus said and did to them, seemed like absolute gibberish.
Now pride shows up in all sorts of different ways but I think if you look over at James 1:19-21, you’ll see he identifies one of the chief ways pride expresses itself. In fact, though I’m not sure I would guess that James had this parable in mind as he wrote,
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word (I.e. the seed Jesus talked about), which is able to save your souls. “
If a person is proud, when the word of God comes to bear on their life, they often respond by getting angry. And when a person gets angry, he often responds by either shutting down or going on the attack. He stops listening or he gets real defensive. And if that’s happening, you can guarantee he’s not going to benefit from the Word.
There’s a reason Jesus began the parable of the sowers by commanding people to listen…and ended it with a call to hear.
He knew there were a whole lot of things that could keep that from really happening…things like:
Satan, superficiality, stuff and sin.
And there’s a reason Jesus warned us about those threats - to be forewarned is to be forearmed - knowing all that should change the way we approach His Word.
With all these threats, we need to work at hearing the Word or we‘re not going to.