"Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Mark 4:1-9
As someone who has been married for over 30 years, I know the importance of listening to my wife, Barbara.
I discovered early and painfully the difference between hearing her and listening to her. It is the one area where I find the most trouble. If she senses that I didn't pay attention to what she told me she will ask, "What did I just say?"
I'd better give her that right answer when she asks or she gets her feelings hurt and I get in trouble.
Failing to listen to Jesus is a sure prescription for disaster as well.
In this part of Mark's Gospel Jesus begins His parable by saying, "Listen!" and ending the portion by again saying, "He who has ears to hear, let them hear!"
Parables were Jesus' favorite and most effective way to teach. In this parable of the sower He is teaching us that there are four types of listeners. And we also discover that hearing happens with the heart, not just the ears.
Over the next several posts I want to explore those four types of "hearing hearts" but this evening I want to call you attention to how Jesus addressed the audience assembled on the lake shore that day. And according to Mark's account it was a large crowd.
Those familiar with this area where Jesus did this teaching tell us the rocks that line the shore are positioned like church pews. Behind those rows of boulders are steep banks that rise above the level of the lake. That combination of terrain made an ideal amphitheater. When you consider that Jesus was in a boat on the water several yards from the shore speaking over the water, he had perfect acoustics for being clearly heard by anyone who was present that day.
So when Jesus began His teaching by saying, "Listen" He had no doubt that everyone could hear Him clearly. He wasn't so sure everyone who was hearing was really listening.
Jesus knows how to position Himself in your life so you can hear Him when He speaks to you. But you must position your heart so you will listen.
Will you listen to God today?
Will you open your heart to hear what He will say to you?
He will be speaking!
I hope you're listening!
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22