Crowding Out the Best
J. R. Miller
Some lives come to nothing—because they take in too many interests. They are too crowded. One thing chokes out another, and, of course, it is always the best that is choked out. In one of our Lord's parables, he illustrates the mistake of this kind of living—by a bit of soil in which the good seed sown in it failed, because there was too much else growing in the same piece of ground. The soil itself was good, as good as the best. The seed was of excellent quality, the same that in another part of the field yielded a hundredfold. When it was first sown it began to grow and gave fine promise. But it soon became apparent that the soil was preoccupied. The roots of thorn bushes had been left in the ground, and when the wheat began to grow—the thorns shot up too, and they grew so rapidly and so rankly—that they crowded out the wheat, overshadowing it, drinking up the nourishment from the soil, so that nothing came in the end from the good seed which started so hopefully.
It is interesting to read our Lord's interpretation of this part of his parable. The thorns, he says, are the cares, riches, and pleasures of this world. These things stay in the life where the good seed has been planted, and so fill the ground, that they absorb the life's strength and interest, and are so aggressive that they crowd out the gentler growths.
It is easy to understand how this can be. We all know how it is, in a garden that is not well tended. The weeds spring up and choke out the flowers and vegetables. Weeding is a very important part of a gardener's duty. The ground must be kept clean. Our hearts are like gardens. We plant the seeds—but the weeds were in the soil first, and they spring up at once, or even before our seeds have had time to send up their tender shoots. At once the battle begins. If the weeds are let alone—they will soon have full possession, and all our gardening will be a failure.
Cares are thorns or weeds. Cares are worries, anxieties, and distractions. They seem to grow as naturally in a heart—as weeds do in a garden, or thorns in a field. Some people think worries are quite harmless. They never think of them as sins. But Jesus spoke very strongly against worry. He said we should never worry. It does no good. It grieves our Father for it shows distrust of his love and goodness. It is following the example of the heathen, who do not know of the Father's love for his children. Then here Jesus says worries choke out the good which he is seeking to get to grow in us.
We should guard against worry—just as we guard against any and every sinful thing. We should pick it out whenever it shows its ugly head—just as the good gardener watches for weeds and takes out every one that comes up. We have an illustration of the danger of worry—in the story of Martha. There were many good things growing in her life—but they were all well-near choked out by the worry that she allowed to grow up in her heart. Many other people have the same danger. Life's anxieties crowd out the beautiful things which start in their hearts, and which will grow only in a free and clean soil. Worry is thus a most harmful habit. We should weed it out of our life—and let God's peace possess us. If we do not—it will sorely crowd out and choke to death, the good things growing in us. Then there really is no need of anxiety. If we will be true to God and trust him—he will keep us always in perfect peace.