Yesterdays’ thoughts were kind of my conclusion to Jesus’ parable of the sower. I continue reading today and I realize, not surprisingly, Jesus provided His own conclusion. And then, as if to punctuate it all, Luke relates an interestingly placed epilogue that emphasizes the point again. Another reminder as to the importance of what we do with what we hear. That, in a sense, hearing is believing.
“Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
Then His mother and His brothers came to Him, but they could not reach Him because of the crowd. And He was told, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.” But He answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
(Luke 8:18-21 ESV)
Yesterday I read Jesus’ diagnosis of what happens to the seed of the word of God when it falls among thorns. It gets choked out (8:7). The fruit that the seed should have borne doesn’t mature (8:14). And the problem isn’t that the sower had bad aim and had let the seed fall where it shouldn’t. Instead, it’s that those who received the word hadn’t thoughtfully prepared the ground, cutting back the competing priorities of “the cares and riches and pleasures of life.”
Jesus goes on to say (8:16-17) that just as a lamp is lit for a purpose, to bring light, so the seed is sown for a purpose, to bear fruit. You don’t cover the light with a jar and but it under your bed, and, by extension, you shouldn’t allow the seed of the word of God to be choked out with other distractions and prevent it from bearing fruit. What’s more, there will be an accounting for what was done with the light. And thus, neither can we keep secret seed that has been crowded out and not allowed to flourish. What we did with the Word will one day be exposed.
And so, says Jesus, “Take care how you hear.” That’s a command to obey in my books.
And it comes with a law of diminishing returns. Use it or lose it. Don’t think that whatever fruit might have been borne once through receiving the seed on good soil is somehow “money in the bank.” Doesn’t work that way. Fruit-bearing bears more fruit. Seed-choking, it seems, causes fruit already borne to rot. Kind of a scary warning. No place for coasting on what we think we’ve done in the past. Folly to think that what we’ve known from a past season of life is enough to sustain us as we pursue a worldly “to do” list in this season of life.
” . . . even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
And then, as if Jesus conclusion isn’t warning enough, Luke relates that receiving the Sower’s seed onto good soil isn’t just a matter of fruit-bearing, but a matter of relationship-building as well.
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
Jesus, redefines His family. Beyond the blood relationship, Jesus’ people are those marked by what they do with the Sower’s seed. Those who know a living, dynamic, intimate relationship with Jesus are marked by good soil. They are “those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart” (8:15).
How important is having ears to hear? Pretty important!
How big a deal is it to be mindful of that which could choke out the word? Pretty big!
More than just bearing fruit, receiving and nurturing the seed of the word of God is vital to being in relationship with God. And anything we want more than that, seems to me, has a flashing “Idol Warning” sign over it.
Hearing really is believing.
“Take care then how you hear.”
By His grace. For His glory.