Does it choke it or stoke it?

In Mark 4:18-19 Jesus says that some people “hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” He’s describing people who don’t respond well to God’s word and message because of three things.

The one we’ll focus on today is “the worries of this life.” But what does he mean?

Because of passages like Matthew 6:25-34, I think Jesus’ emphasis is on the word THIS. Some people worry so much about their material needs in THIS life that they neglect what he teaches about ETERNAL life and what matters most.

Consider the family whose child is in competitive gymnastics; but it starts to consume so much of their time, money and energy that they forget everything else and neglect Jesus’ place in their lives.

Or the person who sits on the condo board and becomes so consumed by the politics and problems, that he or she does the same.

To keep this from happening, there’s a helpful question we can ask when making decisions and setting priorities:

Does this choke or stoke my discipleship?

Things that choke your discipleship squeeze the life out of it by pulling you away from prayer, Bible-reading, being generous, helping others, and worshiping God.

In contrast, things that stoke your discipleship, allow you to exercise your faith as the hands and feet of Jesus—at home, at school, at work, or while having fun.

Life can get crazy. I know. But don’t lose sight of what matters most.

When making decisions and setting priorities, ask: Does this choke or stoke my discipleship?

By Matthew Ruttan

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
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