“Take care how you listen"
Luke 8:4-21 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: 5 “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. 8 Other seedfell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. 10 And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.
11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firmroot; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 The seedwhich fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
16 “Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”
19 And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” 21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”
In today’s text Jesus says: “Take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” The idea that those who have get more and those who do not have get taken from certainly seems to go against what we would consider right and just. The inequity of wealth is one of the most polarizing realities in our society. Surely Jesus would not support such a principle. We need to understand what it is that is increased or taken away. Jesus is not speaking about material things. He is not speaking of wealth. He says “take care how you listen.” Jesus made this statement in the context of the parable of the sower. Jesus begins the explanation of the parable by saying: “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.” We need to understand that the results or lack of results which came from the seed were not because of the seed. The seed was and is consistent. The word of God does not, has not, will not, never changes. It is all good. In Isaiah 55:11 God says: So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. The results then, or the lack of results, are based on the condition of the soil. Jesus says: “Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firmroot; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” Now we can understand why Jesus says: “Take care how you listen.” They all heard the same word. The difference is in the way they listened. So if we look again at what Jesus says: “whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” We can see and understand that what is given is more good seed to the one who bears fruit; to the ones who persevere. Those who do not take care with how they listen to the word of God, will have it taken from them. It will be taken by the deception of the devil. It will be taken by having no firm root and falling to temptation. It will be taken by being choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life. Only if we take care how we listen; if we listen with an honest and good heart; if we hold fast and persevere, even in the difficult times, will we bear fruit for the kingdom and those who have, even more will be given to them.
Look at the final benefit; perhaps the greatest blessing we receive if we take care how we listen to the word of God. Jesus says: “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” We become Christ’s family; children of God, when we take care and listen to the word of God. Romans 8:15-17 says: …You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ… When we are those who are careful how we listen; when we hear the word of God and do it, we receive the inheritence of all that the kingdom of God has to offer. May the word of God, from Ephesians 1:3-14 be our prayer today.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Amen. May I continue to receive more as I take care how I listen. Amen.