Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
This passage of scripture warns us of the snare which the love of materials can present, if left to run riot in the life of the Christian. When people listen to the word of God, some are always checking to see in what way the truths that are presented will affect their material possessions, and if they conclude that no loss or sacrifice will be involved, then they receive the word with gladness. But if the truth is accepted in its purest form, and they perceive that self denial and a renouncing of the love of material things is required, then many of them become offended and decide against the truth, instead of submitting themselves to God for cleansing from all unrighteousness.
The truths of God's word when adopted and implemented never makes a Christian of less value in the performance of duty, or in the management of material blessings. As a matter of fact, Christians are described in the Bible as being stewards, and as such we are to be efficient in our handling of material goods and services. The problem arises when we become attached to material things, and begin to value them more than our salvation and our relationship with Christ. When this becomes the case, then the teachings of God's word are made subjective to the possession of material wealth, and therefore any truth which interferes with our carnal security, is viewed as being antagonistic to prosperity and temporal advancement.
This is the reason why the word is often choked off in the lives of those who are hell-bent on acquiring riches and material things. When Joseph was called to serve in the second highest office in Egypt, he proved himself both faithful and wise in the handling of God's material blessings, and through his thrift and wise judgment, he was able by the grace of God, to save the nation from utter starvation during the dreadful years of famine. However he did not allow his association with material wealth and goods to usurp the first place that God should have in our affections, and his priorities were reflected in the request made before his death, in which he stipulated that his bones be not left in Egyptian territory, for he did not want to be identified with the materialism, and worldly mindedness that was associated with that place. Instead he desired that his remains be buried with the people of God, thereby signifying that God was first in his affections. Let's read:
Genesis 50:25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
Joshua 24:32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
On one occasion when Christ fed the multitudes miraculously with food, they clamored to make Him their king right there and then, but He refused in such a decisive manner, that His own disciples questioned His purposes in doing so. But not long after it was made plain why Christ refused their demands to make Him their king, for when He presented to them the spiritual nature of the kingdom of God, together with the self-denial and sacrifice that would be required, many of them turned their backs on Him and the truths He presented, and according to the sacred record, their decision was never ever afterward reversed. This is what Christ meant when He stated that the love of material things could choke the word to the point where a person cannot produce any good fruit of righteousness.
What is strangely coincidental to this particular experience, and to its placement in the scriptures is that it is recorded in John 6:66, a number that is eerily identical to the mark of the beast and the number of his name. Let's read:
John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Revelation 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
In our own lives and in our own experiences we need to be careful lest the love of gain and pursuit of material things do not choke off the word of God, a situation that has become all too rampant in the materialistic age in which we are living. Many Christians are focused more on survival than on surrender, and it is because of a misplacement of our priorities why we often find ourselves destitute of the grace and presence of God, who gives us the right perspective and outlook on life. We therefore end with a passage of scripture which cautions us not become entangled with the material things of this world, but rather encourages us to keep our eyes and affections focused on God who died to redeem us from sin. Let's read:
1st John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
May God add His blessing to the study and practice of His word. "Good night" and God bless!