Having, and Not Having: Do You Hear Him?

Listening

“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? If so, get ready! It may be the case that He wants to convey His truth to your spirit through unconventional means. It may end up feeling like He’s given you a riddle, or a puzzle to solve. Even when His message transmission seems perplexing or mysterious to us, how He relishes it when we purposefully lean in to listen for His meaning!

Digging into our verse for today, we find Jesus’ explanation of why He loves to use veiled language to deliver what’s on His heart to His children. As His disciples exclaimed, He often utilized “obscure figures of speech” as He addressed people (John 16:29, NET). In other words, parables. He wove this kind of coded communication richly and relentlessly into His teaching style as He imparted wisdom to the multitudes that followed Him.

Understanding how effective this tool was, He implemented it regularly. 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 discourse (Mark 4:34). Frequently, the significance 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 for us, 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 break out their scuba equipment and dedicate the necessary time and energy to dive deep for them.

He knew ahead of time that there would be two kinds of people present in every massive gathering — those who genuinely yearned for His pearls, and those who didn’t. The former were hanging on His every word. The latter were just mingling with the crowd, curious about all the excitement, 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 draw as close as we possibly can to Him and inquire of His heart, we will be given more, and more, and more.

Let us, then, be found in the category of the ravenous! Let us dive deep into the waters of the Spirit! Let the cry of our spirits be, Oh Lord Jesus, share Your exquisite pearls with me!

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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?