When Jesus was explaining the parable of the sower to his disciples (Matthew 13:18-23 NIV) he used this phrase, “the deceitfulness of wealth”. In Matthew 13:22 Jesus said, “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word making it unfruitful.” This phrase caught my attention as I read through the passage, and I thought it worth a more in-depth look.
I frequently like to refer to The Message to expand my understanding of a passage. Here’s how verse 22 reads, “The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.” The words deceitfulness and illusions both give indication of something that is not really there. Here in America, I believe the deceitfulness and the illusions of wealth hinder us from fully participating in God’s kingdom. Perhaps it is our greatest deception.
I remember, when my youngest daughter returned from a mission’s trip to Mexico, she was deeply impressed by how happy the people were in the village where she stayed. She said to me, “Dad they live in shacks and have nothing, yet they are always cheerful and happy.” It was a great experience for her. She had the opportunity to realize that material wealth doesn’t bring happiness.
As we head into the holiday season, let us not fall victim to the deceitfulness of wealth. The holidays should be more about God’s love and faithfulness. There is a mounting excitement as we gather together for Thanksgiving and then the celebration of God coming to earth. In these moments, there is light to be found. Don’t let the darkness of striving for wealth cause you to miss the light of God’s love.