For most of us, it’s not heresy or rank apostasy that will derail our profession of faith. It’s all the worries of life. You’ve got car repairs. Then your water heater goes out. The kids need to see a doctor. You haven’t done your taxes yet. Your checkbook isn’t balanced. You’re behind on thank you notes. You promised your mother you’d come over and fix faucet. You’re behind on wedding planning. Your boards are coming up. You have more applications to send out. Your dissertation is due. Your refrigerator is empty. Your lawn is too long. Your curtains don’t look right. Your washing machine keeps rattling. This is life for most of us and it’s choking the spiritual life out of us.Read the rest.
The second thorn is related to the first. Jesus says the work of the word is swallowed up by the desire for other things. It’s not that possessions themselves are to blame. The problem is with everything we do to take care of them and everything we do to get more of them. Is it any wonder that the most stressed out people on the planet live in the most affluent countries? Cottages, boats, campers, timeshares, investments, real estate, snow mobiles, new cars, new houses, new computers, new iStuff—they all take time. We’ve heard countless sermons warning us about the dangers of money. But the real danger comes after your spend the money. Once you own it you need to keep it clean, keep it working, and keep up with the latest improvements. If the worries of life don’t swamp us, the upkeep will.
Jesus knows what he’s talking about. As much as we must pray against the devil and pray for the persecuted church, in Jesus’ thinking the greater threat to the gospel is sheer exhaustion. Busyness kills more Christians than bullets. How many sermons are stripped of their power by lavish dinner preparations and professional football? How many moments of pain are wasted because we never sat still enough to learn from them? How many times of private and family worship have been crowded out by soccer and school projects? We need to guard our hearts. The seed of God’s word won’t grow to fruitfulness without pruning for rest, quiet, and calm.
Books by Kevin DeYoung:
- The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
- Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will
- What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission
- The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism
- Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion