On Sunday, we studied the four kinds of soils discussed in Matthew 13. There is the hard path that keeps the seed on top of the dirt for the birds to eat, the rocky soil that allows the seed to germinate, but then gets scorched by the hot sun, and the good soil that produces a positive yield.
Right in the middle of the discussion, we see the thorny soil. Any number of thorns try to choke out the life of the plant. We might think of these thorns as distractions. These thorns are the things that grab our attention away from eternal matters and allow us to be consumed with the trivial affairs of everyday life.
Truth be told, we are an incredibly distracted society.
Do you remember the fiasco that occurred at The Oscars a couple of years ago? Backstage, a representative of Price Waterhouse Cooper held the envelope that would reveal the results for the year’s Academy Award for Best Picture. This representative became distracted while posting a personal photo on social media. So, he handed the wrong envelope to the presenters. “La La Land” was announced as the big winner, but actually “Moonlight” had won. Oh, what a mess. What a distraction.
And our world is becoming increasingly distracted. Let me share an example:
In the 1950’s, the shot duration on a major motion picture lasted 12 full sections. The directors held the audience’s gaze in one place for over 12 seconds! Today, the scenes flicker off every four seconds or so.
The guys who maintain serious statistics say that, in a normal day, we are interrupted every 8 minutes. We even stay distracted for a full 5 minutes before moving back to the original task. We are so proud of our multitasking skills, but in reality, we are not doing two things at once. Instead, we are just getting incredibly skilled at switching between different activities.
All that switching has hurt our ability to stay focused. The constant stimuli of smart phone apps and streaming platforms have left our society weak and unable to maintain a strong focus on things that are important.
It is showing in our spiritual lives, as well. Thorny soil is all around us. We are distracted and choking on our own advancements and achievements. Perhaps we are congested by the preponderance of entertainment choices. Or perhaps we are coughing our way through trivial conversations and silly stories.
Either way, it is time to do some weeding. The Sower wants His fields to produce a crop. Let’s identify our own brand of thorns, grab a root, and pull!