Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. He sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. 2 He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” 10 Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant.
While growing up, I had what my dad called a “huh?” problem. Whenever someone spoke to me, my automatic response was “huh?” After a year or so of this habitual and frustrating response, my dad took me to the doctor. Low and behold, I had a little pebble lodged in one of my ears that had to be removed. Once the little rock was removed, my hearing greatly improved and the “huh?” issue quickly ceased. Oh happy day around the Reilley home!
All too often while living in this surround-sound world, I find myself having a bit of the same “huh?” problem in my walk with Jesus. As I read the words from this passage I can almost hear it being said of me, “Once again Jesus began teaching Terry….Terry, you have ears to hear so you should listen and understand!” One of things I love about the Lord is His ongoing patience with me. I desire to listen to Him so I can better live for Him. But as Jesus teaches in this parable, there may not only be some things that need to be dislodged from my ears but also uprooted from my soul to make room for greater understanding. It’s easy to let a little crust build around my heart, or get entangled with cares and concerns that not only choke out His life but diminish the decibels of God’s gracious voice.
I believe Jesus gives a prescription for the “huh?” problem. It’s not being one in the crowd who hears His Word and moves on. It is about being a disciple who returns to listen more deeply to decipher Jesus’ message for me.
Jesus, help me to remove the ear rocks and soul debris as I return to hear you more clearly every day, in every way. Amen.
Dialog discuss: Is stalled bad? It’s my distinct impression that spiritual growth is not linear, rather it goes up in fits in starts: sudden increases followed by long plateaus… Other than my gaining weight during the holidays, I can think of very little in my life that is truly linear. Bradely R.E. Wright, Assoc. Professor, University of Connecticut