The one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

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A young man inherited the vast, rolling farmland of his father and fathers before. Acres of well-tended fields spread over gentle hills, and lush valleys lay as far as the eye could see. But it wasn’t long before the young man realized that in order to keep the fields clear, he would have to give his life to that purpose. It would be a hard life, and he was fond of easy, pleasant things, so he abandoned the farthest edges of his land. What were a few fields. His father had been overly ambitious.

So he reasoned every year, and every  year a few more fields were let go, and a few more hours spent in town, pursuing pleasant things. Trees and brambles began to infiltrate the edges of his territory, and over time they spread further and further towards the rambling outbuildings that had once held prize-winning stock, but now were inhabited by a band of neglected cows.

The trees grew up, and the cows grew old. The farm became such a ramshackle affair  that the no-longer young man felt claustrophobic when he walked through his front yard. He thought wistfully of his childhood when he had roamed free over the open pastures that spread out around the distant blue hills. Now the trees were so close he couldn’t see the hills, and he griped to himself about how unreasonable his father had been to give him so much to do. If things hadn’t been left in such a mess, he might have had a chance in life.

The man grew old too and lost interest in the pleasures of town. He became a recluse, living in the empty rooms of the sagging house. At night, when the wind blew, the branches of a young forest brushed against his windows.

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Life is only narrow when we refuse to clear the brush.

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