Are you just hearing or are you listening?

ImageJesus taught the listening audience with parables which are like illustrations that reveal the heart and spiritual truths. Wiersbe wrote: A parable begins innocently as a picture that arrests our attention and arouses our interest. But as we study the picture, it becomes a mirror in which we suddenly see ourselves. If we continue to look by faith, the mirror becomes a window through which we see God and His truth. How we respond to that truth will determine what further truth God will teach us.” As Jesus presented the parable of the soils many heads were nodding yet later the disciples asked for clarification. Jesus asked them: “Don’t you understand this parable? Then how will you understand any parable?” And perhaps he is asking you and I the same questions.

“Listen!” This parable is about the three enemies: the “god” of hardness, the “god” of shallowness, the “god” of the crowded life. As the sower cast his seed some fell along the hardened path. This is a reflection of a hardened heart much like the religious leaders who watched with purpose to accuse and assassinate him. Their “god” is intellectualism and man-made rules even though Jesus provided the heavenly evidence of a withered hand restored. Some seed fell among the rocky ground. This is the “god” of the shallow heart that lacks hunger or thirst for the deep meanings of God. The Word does not penetrate their will or their way of life. These are unable to discern truth from error and thus are led away into false theology. The seed that fell among the thorns reflects the heart that is crowded by calendars and the clock—no time to read, study or meditate. These are satisfied with a “ticket punch” and not the deep truths that God offers those who seek Him. In sharp contrast is the seed that fell on the good soil/heart which reflects the hungering and thirsting heart that searches the Word to see if what is said is true. These are the Bereans that Paul commended. These are the ones whose seed sprouts, then a stalk appears, then the head and finally the fruit ready for harvest.

Jesus said: “Whoever has ears to hear had better listen!” In other words: Listen with your ears but hear with your heart.

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