World Full of Squirrels
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Matthew 13:22
I recently took the dog outside to relieve himself and before I knew it, he was in a full sprint across the street, chasing a squirrel. There could have been a semi-truck barreling down the street and my dog would have been oblivious to it. He was so distracted that, if the timing had been wrong, he would have died chasing that squirrel. In a split second, he went from doing one thing to running headlong into potential disaster.
This is not unlike the addict, who while in jail or treatment, promises God and man that he will stay on the straight and narrow. He often does for a time. He goes to meetings. He stays out of the bar. Sooner or later though, the distractions of normal life overthrow his good intentions and he starts to waiver. One day, he suddenly chases some metaphorical squirrel and skips a meeting. He returns to old friends, has just one drink, and soon, he’s right back where I met him – in jail.
I’m not much different. I’ve been there and in some ways I’m still there, maybe not using drugs or in jail, but I too, am easily distracted. I begin my day with reading, prayer, and meditation, but by 9:00, I’m running into the street, chasing something. Whether its food, pride, resentment, or just busyness, my focus is easily derailed.
This is the condition described by Jesus in today’s passage. Continuing in the parable of himself as the sower of his message, Christ tells of the one who hears and accepts the gospel, but then becomes distracted by everyday life. This individual starts out with good intentions. He believes, but he never gets around to doing. He never actually finds transformation, faith, or recovery, because he just has too many other things consuming his attention.
The world is full of squirrels. We are surrounded by that which would distract us from who we truly want to be. These things may not all be evil in themselves, but anything that we allow to displace God from his rightful position in our lives is destructive. If we truly want faith and recovery, then daily, we must turn our lives towards God, identifying and abandoning those things that would rob him of our attention.