Jesus taught often in parables – stories that have a point. In the parable of the soils, Jesus explains why he teaches in parables. He says that the Word of God has primarily four different types of hearers, and that 3 out of the 4 receive it, but only 1 out of the 4 really get it.
- Some people just aren’t listening to God’s Word at all. Perhaps no one is sharing it with them. Or they simply have zero spiritual interest and and so they never really “hear” it at all (Matthew 13:4, explained in Matthew 13:19).
- Some people hear it and receive it (even “with joy”), but then trials or storms arise in their life and they walk away from God (Matthew 13:5-6, explained in Matthew 13:20-21).
- Some people hear it and receive it, but then they get distracted by the world (“the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches”), and it gets choked out of their lives (Matthew 13:7, explained in Matthew 13:22).
- Some people hear it, receive it, and actually get it. They live according to what they have heard because their heart recognizes it as truth. (Matthew 13:8, explained in Matthew 13:23).
Jesus talks here, and in other places too, about having “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” what he is saying.
I will confess that the cares of this world distracted me for most of 2010. I needed to make some significant changes in my life to re-align my heart towards the Lord and be more receptive to His promptings and guidance. I live in the suburbs, where the “cares of this world” surround me on a daily basis. It is so easy for me to drown out my own thirst for God’s Word through consumerism and the suburban lifestyle.
What kind of eyes and ears do you have as 2011 approaches? Is your heart open to God’s Word at all? Have tragic situations or difficult circumstances hardened your heart toward God’s Word? Have the cares of this world distracted you from hearing His still, small voice? Or, through God’s abundant grace in your life, is your heart open and receptive to what God wants to say to you through His Word this year?