I hope bank robbers were not watching the news recently. If they were, they just got a nifty idea on how to stop pursuing police.
Throw handfuls of the stolen cash on the road behind you and watch as people stop their cars to grab it, creating chaos and car accidents. Traffic will be brought to a halt.
“It won’t work,” you say. Well, look at what happened on U.S Route 3 near East Rutherford, in northeast New Jersey. There was no bank robbery. But traffic was brought to a standstill when a sack of cash fell from a Brink’s armored car and spilled hundreds of $5, $10, and $20-bills on the four-lane-highway. Although at least one Good Samaritan actually stopped to help the Brinks security guard to gather up the money, dozens of motorists risked life and limb to help themselves. According to East Rutherford Police, the sudden stoppage of traffic caused numerous accidents.
Well, I hope I haven’t given bank robbers any ideas on how to distract motorists. Nor do I want to give the devil ideas on how to distract Christian believers from their heavenly pursuit. But I’m afraid he’s already privy to these tactics. He’s been distracting believers and crowding out the gospel from their lives for millennia.
Just look at Jesus’ parable about the Sower in Mark 4:1–20. There Jesus describes three kinds of fruitless listeners to the gospel message. In this parable Jesus explains why so many people in His day were rejecting the gospel. First, He explains, there are those who fail to understand it and Satan immediately plucks it from their hearts. They are like the soil beside the road, from which the birds of the air quickly steal the fallen seed. Second, there are those who immediately receive the gospel message with joy. But because they have no depth to their soul they immediately fall away in the face of persecution and adversity. These listeners are like the shallow soil above bedrock. The seed may quickly sprout in such soil. But because the soil has no depth, the tiny sprouts quickly wither under the sun’s scorching heat.
But by far, the largest category of listeners are portrayed as thorn-infested soil. The seed of the gospel may sprout in their hearts but it is doomed to be choked out by “the thorns.” Jesus describes these “choking” factors as “the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things” (other things which conflict with our pursuit after God—Mark 4:19).
These are the worst inhibitors to the flourishing of the gospel in our lives. They frustrate the flow of God’s grace into our lives, just as the scattered money distracted motorists and stopped the safe flow of traffic. How many Christian witnesses have been nullified—not by persecution or martyrdom, but by simple distractions and competing pursuits? The devil has succeeded in derailing us from our heavenly journey by throwing into our path temptations, competing goals, and silly concerns which aren’t worth our worry.
Forget about the scattered “easy money” on the road. Pursue God’s reign in your life and a right relationship with Him. If you do, all the contentment, peace, and joy you yearn for will be abundantly supplied to you in Christ (Matthew 6:33). “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy,” said Jesus. “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Dear Father in heaven, please save me from all the schemes of the devil. When he throws competing and distracting opportunities to corrupt my pure devotion to You, please remind me of the joys to gain in this life and the glories to gain in the next. Please keep my eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross and is now exalted in the heavens. Amen.