As I hover over this six word command to obey, it impresses me as being a pretty weighty charge by Jesus to His disciples. Foundational for their growth as followers of Christ. Insightful as to a spiritual dynamic that dictates there’s no such thing as “good enough” in the kingdom. And it all comes down to seeing how we hear.
“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.” ~ Jesus
(Luke 8:18 ESV)
Jesus is “proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God” (Lk. 8:1). And when the crowd about him peaks, He tells them a parable (Lk. 8:4-8). A story about a sower, some seed, and four different outcomes. He concludes the story with, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
He then let’s His disciples in on the meaning of the mysterious tale (Lk. 8:9-15). How come? Because, Jesus says, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God.”
The seed is the presented word of God. It is the served up secrets of the kingdom.
And, the four scenarios presented are hearing scenarios. In the first, the word is heard, but because it falls on hardened ground, it’s easily removed. Or, the seed is heard, but because it falls on shallow ground and has no root, in times of testing it falls away. Or, perhaps most tragic, the seed is heard, takes root, but bears no fruit because it is “choked out by the cares and riches and pleasures of life.” Finally, in the best case scenario, the seed finds good soil in “those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
Same seed. Very different outcomes. Take care then how you hear.
Literally, “see how you hear.” Look at how you listen. Discern how you’re detecting. Pay attention to how you prepare, participate, and process. ‘Cause it’s a big deal! The secrets of the kingdom are at stake! The fruit of the kingdom is dependent upon it. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
And, as I noodle on it, here’s what really gets me. It’s not like you can opt to stop hearing at some point because you feel like you’ve borne enough fruit. Not like you can say I’ve heard enough, I’ve grown enough, I’ll just settle for where I am at.
“. . . 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.”
If good soil is allowed to become untilled hard ground; if good soil is allowed to erode and becomes shallow; if good soil isn’t tended and the weeds of the world are allowed to grow unchecked, then it’s not as if what was already harvested from what was once good soil will just stay in the barn. The deposits don’t just sit and gain interest. No, says Jesus, instead what he thinks he has will be taken away. To no longer have ears to hear is to atrophy. To not see how you hear is to risk going blind.
To us who are disciples of Christ, provision has been made to know the secrets of the kingdom. And those secrets come in the form of seed, the word of God. And ours is to listen — carefully, committedly, constantly.
Seeing how we hear. That we might bear fruit with patience.
By His grace. For His glory.