As a kid growing up, I remember seeing the juggler who would spin plates. They would place an individual plate on a thin stick and spin it; then repeat this process over and over. Periodically they had to return to a previous plate and give it an extra spin to keep them from falling off the stick. So the idea was to see how many plates they could keep spinning before one fell and broke.

Do you ever feel like this juggler? We all have our plates: jobs (sometimes multiple plates here), spouses, kids, friends, spirituality, hobbies and the list goes on. It seems our lives can get to the place we are running from plate to plate, giving it just enough to keep it spinning, then run to the next one. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how many plates we can spin and how long we can keep spinning. How do you know those limits? It is when the plate falls and breaks.

One of the first plates that usually breaks is our spiritual relationship; we find that we are either do not “have” time or are too tired. Matthew 13, Jesus speaks the parable of the sower. In this story, the seed is sown on four types of soil: hard, stony, thorny and good. The applicable part to us now is the thorny soil. It states that the seed begins to grow, but then thorns grow around it and choke it out. In verse 22, Jesus gives the insights of this scenario: The seed is the word of God (consider it our spirituality) and he defines the thorns as “the cares of life” and the “deceitfulness of riches.”

The application could be something like this; the “cares of life” are the “things” we are busy doing just to live. They are not necessarily evil or sin, but they are so time to consume they produce pressure or stress on us. It is the never-ending list of social engagements, the multiple practices for various sports or arts performances, the non-stop business meetings we believe are necessary, and the list goes on and on. Add to this the laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, yard work, car maintenance etc. All these add up to the care or weight of daily living.

The “deceitfulness of riches” are the wealth and “things” we think we need to possess. We ceaselessly pursue them because we believe they will somehow satisfy, complete or fulfill who we are. (Now i know we may not say this, but it is really what we think deep down.) In fact, there is a whole industry that their purpose is to show us how we are not complete unless drive certain cars, wear the right clothes, use the latest technology, drink or eat the “in” foods or use the certain cosmetics or personal hygiene products.

What makes these deceitful, is that we think we need them (we rationalize) and once they are obtained, the expected fulfillment is short-lived, so we move on to the next. We are always pursuing that mirage on the horizon.

Jesus warns that these two things choke out our spirituality because they become the focus of our daily lives. The consume our time, energy and focus, leaving us at the end of the day, maybe even a life, exhausted and empty.

The answer – reevaluate our purpose. Refocus on Him and His purpose. When you are in alignment with what He created you for, you can learn to say no. You will not be consumed with the mundane of life and your fulfillment or completeness will come from Him.

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