Having, and Not Having: Do You Hear Him?


“Then he added, ‘Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more’” (Mark 4:24, NLT).

Are you expectant for what God would speak to you today? Even when His messages to us seem puzzling or mysterious, how He relishes it when we purposefully lean in to listen for them!

Digging into our verse for today, we find Jesus’ explanation of why He loves to use veiled parables to deliver these messages from His heart. He wove this kind of coded communication richly and relentlessly into His teaching style as He imparted wisdom to the multitudes of people that followed Him.

We are not talking about an occasional parable thrown in at just the right place to illustrate one of His sermon points. Instead, Mark shares with us that He used nothing but parables as His main form of address (Mark 4:34). Frequently, the meaning of His metaphors was partially or completely hidden from His listeners.

Why not just speak plainly to them?

He Himself revealed the answer, in the words recorded above. His use of parables created an enticing opportunity for those who were truly spiritually hungry to receive more of God. He purposefully spoke in enigmas, to provoke those ravenous ones to carefully search out their meaning. This was entirely more effective than if He were to toss His precious pearls to the masses for free. If they really wanted the pearls, they were going to need to get on their scuba equipment and dedicate the necessary time and energy to diving deep for them.

He knew ahead of time that there were two kinds of people present in every massive gathering — those who genuinely yearned for His pearls, and those who didn’t. The latter were just hanging around curious about the excited stir of the crowd, and/or hoping for a gratuitous lunch.

Jesus created two verbal categories to call out the distinction between these different sets of individuals. He grouped them as “Whoever Has,” and “Whoever Does Not Have.” What He specifically meant by these classifications was, “Those Who Have an Insatiable Appetite for Truth,” and “Those Who Don’t.” Pointing out the stark contrast between them, He asserted, “For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him” (Mark 4:25, NKJV).

What a marvelous principle, for those of us who are thirsty for more of Jesus! As we lean in to listen intently and inquire of Him, we will be given more, and more, and more. I love this promise!



Has God spoken to you in a puzzling way recently? Have you taken the time to search out His heart about the deeper meaning of what He wants to communicate to you?