Today, I want us to compare persecution with lusts for the riches of the world.
Mark 4:16-19. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. KJV
Jesus was explaining to His disciples the meaning of the parable of the sower. He said some seed fell on thin soil with underlying rock. He also said some seed fell among thorns.
Question: Between “persecution for the word’s sake” and “lusts for riches,” which sounds tougher, rougher and tighter than the other?
Answer: Persecution for the word’s sake, most of us would say. But it’s wrong. Jesus likened the thin soil to persecution and likened thorns to lusts for riches. As easier, simpler and milder “lusts for riches” would sound, it was represented with thorns. We could view “lusts for riches” to be so casual but Jesus said it’s tougher and rougher than persecution for the word’s sake. No wonder He said it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:25).
Lesson: As simple as it sounds, it is easier for “lusts for riches” to deprive us of the kingdom of God than persecution would. Matthew 6:33. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these thongs shall be added unto you.”