If you’ve been around the gospels for any period of time, I’m guessing you’re familiar with the following kingdom teaching by Jesus:
“For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
(Matthew 25:29 ESV)
It’s a stewardship principle. Today we might say something like, “Use it or lose it.”
If you’re like me, you probably connect the principle to Jesus’ parables of the Talents in Matthew 25, or the Ten Minas in Luke 19. The stories of a master entrusting to his servants “his property” (Matt. 14) before he leaves for a long journey, telling them to “Engage in business until I come” (Luke 19:13). His expectation being that they will steward and invest what they’ve been given and present a return on investment when the master returns.
We often think of the talents as being, well, talents. Gifting, abilities, skill. Unique provisions of the Lord, by birth and through rebirth, which we are to use for the kingdom’s profit. Or, think of the minas as currency, whether treasures in the bank account, or time allotted every 24-hour day. Whether it’s talents, treasure, or time, we’ve all been given something to invest for the kingdom by a Master who is soon to return and bids us, in the meantime, “Occupy till I come” (Lk. 19:13 KJV).
But this morning I’m reminded of another source of “investable” material. Another provision from the Master which can be managed now for eternal benefits later.
“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.”
(Luke 8:18 ESV)
Take care then how you hear. Take heed as to the manner in which you leverage the kingdom input that’s been provided to you. How’s that for a command to obey?
And, at least in this land, talk about leveling the playing field. While I might think that others have more time, treasure, and talent then I do to invest for the kingdom, we all have access to the same voice of God — His holy word, the Bibles sitting on our desks or side tables (hopefully not collecting dust on our shelves). We all have the same resident Teacher within us, the Holy Spirit who delights to fire up the active agency of illumination as we make time for a bit of meditation. We can all claim the same promise that when the seed of God’s word finds the good soil of an open heart, there’s gonna be a return on investment, “some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Mt. 13:8 ESV).
Ours is to “pay attention to how you hear” (NLT). Considering carefully not only what we hear, but also how we hear it. How we make time to consistently plug into God’s word. How we prepare our hearts for the supernatural dynamic of interacting with a “living and active” word (Heb. 4:12). How we engage our minds, whether on our own in personal reading, or with others before the pulpit, to maximize the opportunity to pick up what’s being laid down in God’s word.
And then, refusing to be a miser of what we’ve received, resisting any temptation to bury what we’ve been given in the ground, we steward what we’ve heard. We seek to leverage what we’ve received for our soon to return Master. Investing it as we live out lives transformed by the renewing of our minds, lives in obedience to the word we’ve heard. Multiplying it by transferring the truth we’ve received by openly sharing our testimony, our witness, and our walk and work for the kingdom.
And it all begins on a level playing field. Availing ourselves of the treasures of God found in the word of God. Being thoughtful as to how we receive what He is so graciously ready to give. Being intentional as to how we process what He has provided.
Take care then how you hear.
By His grace. For His glory.