Monday, November 28, 2011

Ears to Hear

He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching, "Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. "Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. "And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. "Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. "Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold." And He was saying, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN." Mark 4:1-12

One of my favorite things to do with my grandchildren is to tell them stories.  Sometimes when they are a bit out of sorts I will draw them close and begin with “Once upon a time...”  It is amazing how quickly I can get my grandsons’ attention merely by saying the word “truck.”  For the girls, it is “princess.”  It gets interesting when talking to both and I get the princess in the truck!

The stories I tell are usually spur of the moment creations that relate to whatever is going on around them.  It doesn’t take long to get their attention off of whatever was bothering them as they follow the story.  Their eyes begin to dance as their imaginations create the visuals in their minds.  As I move through the story, I try to inject some life lessons that relate to their current experience.  It’s amazing to see how they will listen to these lessons better than if I was trying to correct their behavior with a lecture.  I learned this from Jesus.

Jesus was the master storyteller and often used parables to communicate with people.  In fact, there are nearly sixty of them in the Gospels.  The word “parable” means “to cast alongside of”. Someone has defined a parable as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”  In a parable truth is cast alongside life and life interprets the truth.  In other words, a parable takes the common, everyday events of life and uses them to illustrate the deep things of God.  

A parable is designed to teach one primary truth. When that truth is understood, the parable becomes clear.  At the end of His parable, Jesus would often close with, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  Those who were open to His message would understand while those who were merely seeking entertainment would get what they wanted but miss the real point because they were not ready to hear.

Are we among those who have ears to hear?  No doubt that there are times when life opens our ears to hear from God more than others.  In the midst of trouble and needing protection or guidance we are far more likely to listen attentively to God’s instruction.  God invites us to crawl up beside Him and let Him tell us a story that will help us know what is best for lives and how to discover it.  When we quit throwing our tantrums and quiet down He is ready to share.  "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Scripture to Claim:
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. Psalms 78:2-4

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