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.

Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

I Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

MEMORY VERSE: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. —I Peter 5:7

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Worries, anxieties, and the pressures of care and concern for the things of this life—temporal needs of the family, such as food, clothing and housing—tend to divide the mind into many directions, distracting a person from full trust in, undivided love for, and full attention and service to God.


Matthew 13:22 “Care”: worry, anxiety, concern; from a word which means “to divide; to be drawn in different directions; to distract.” “Of this world”: of this present age. “The care which men cherish with regard to temporal objects and temporal affairs, as contrasted with the higher concern, the striving after the Messiah’s kingdom” (Meyer’s New Testament Commentary).

Luke 21:34 “Overcharged”: be made heavy; burdened, pressed or weighed down.
I Corinthians 7:31 “Abusing”: use to the full; abuse arising from over-much use. “As not using it to the full—not draining dry the cup of earthly advantages” (Pulpit Commentary). Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing”: “Do not worry about anything” (New Living Translation). “Do not be anxious about anything” (New International Version).


The first one of the “thorns” that Jesus mentioned is the care of this world. As Luke records in chapter 21, this type of distracting, heavy care causes the heart to be overcharged, or weighted down. Jesus described this kind of care as that which the Gentiles seek after, meaning the worry type of care; the doubtful-mind type of care, about temporal things— “What shall we eat? What shall we drink? How shall we be clothed? (Matthew 6:31-32). He charged us to instead seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first, above all else.

Luke also records the conversation Jesus had with Martha, who was “careful and troubled about many things.” As she was in the middle of fixing dinner, and perturbed that her sister was out of the kitchen listening to Jesus teach, we can gather that He was either telling her that by being more simple in her menu and just fixing one or two things, she could be free from so many kitchen duties and come in and hear the message herself; or, we can apply the “many things” to Martha’s distracted frame of mind over many anxieties. Seeing Mary serene and unconcerned, she became more agitated. The gentle rebuke from Jesus can be taken as personal instruction for any of us, man or woman, who find ourselves “run ragged” and are forgetting the most important thing.

Paul explains to the Corinthians that married persons naturally have more concerns for temporal things than singles. I thought Matthew Henry gave some good comments about this passage: “Considering the distress of those times, the unmarried state was best. Notwithstanding, the apostle does not condemn marriage. He exhorts all Christians to holy indifference toward the world. As to afflictions; they must not indulge the sorrow of the world: even in sorrow the heart may be joyful. As to worldly enjoyments; here is not their rest. As to worldly employment; those that prosper in trade, and increase in wealth, should hold their possessions as though they held them not. As to all worldly concerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts, that they may not abuse it when they have it in their hands…And whatever cares press upon the mind, let time still be kept for the things of the Lord.”

To the Philippians Paul gives the secret to relieving our minds of the cares that weigh us down: giving thanks and praying about everything. Peter also gives us the admonition to “cast” our cares upon the Lord—a metaphor possibly taken from Psalm 37 where the psalmist says “Commit [roll] thy way upon the Lord,” as a camel kneels down, makes a shift with his shoulders and rolls his load off onto the ground. “Because,” Peter comforts, “He careth for you.”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Explain why cares, especially business and household cares, anxieties or worries could be thorns which choke God’s Word.
  2. Share what you consider to be a “balance” in the matters of the domestic cares described in I Corinthians 7.
  3. What is Paul’s prescribed antidote for worry, and what does it bring to the heart?


The scriptures in our lesson take in so many areas of life it would be difficult to make every application in our limited amount of class time. We can all think of places in our lives which we can be more fully cast upon the Lord; where we can be more free from the things of this world; where our focus on the most needful thing can be less divided.

The admonition Paul gives about married people was not to make the young mother with the care of crying babies, cooking and cleaning; nor the young father, working hard to put food on the table, feel chastised and guilty; rather, we can soberly remind ourselves that it is possible in our present state to use the things of this world in a way to further godliness and not allow them to bring us into bondage. We can enjoy the fruits of our labor with contentment and keep industriously employed, all the while keeping our hearts in tune with God’s whispers of peace and His leadings to be about the business of the kingdom in our daily lives.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


It seems that our society has a penchant for caring about that which is unimportant while neglecting that which is. Our displaced care has become a deadly distraction. For instance, texting while driving takes place in almost epidemic proportions and with grave consequences. And because of our ready access to television, cell phones and social media, we’ve learned to electronically distract ourselves and our children rather than face the hard task of raising them. Their minds, as well as ours, are divided and we are being conditioned to embrace distraction as the norm. There are many obligations that constantly demand our attention. All of this affects us in various ways, spiritually and otherwise.

We prioritize and organize our lives from what is most important, to what is least important; and for far too many, the spiritual things tend to settle toward the bottom. Work becomes more important than worship. Down-time becomes more important than devotion.

There are legitimate excuses: the bills are due; the body is tired. There are immediate rewards: a bigger paycheck, a bit more energy, etc. None of this is wrong per se, but these cares distract us from our eternal priority, and nothing is more important than caring for the matters of our souls—nothing!

The benefits of prioritizing spiritual things may not be immediately evident, but it will always produce a far better and eternal reward. Not doing so may initially seem inconsequential but a closer examination reveals otherwise. The waning interest in spiritual matters, a gradual loss in power and the subtle disregard of scriptural principles are all symptoms of neglect.

Yes, life must be lived. And there are things that we must take care of and things we must care for, yet we must always have a keen focus on that which truly matters. We must remember that this life is temporary, but our ultimate destination is eternal. Our actions reveal which one we deem most important.

—Bro. Darrell Johnson