“Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
— Luke 8:18
This week’s Pause Bible Reading Plan has placed us in the middle of some of the most important actions and words of Jesus, early in His ministry. And right in the middle of the week’s reading, we see this command in a tiny paragraph in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. The command is that the disciples had to take heed about how they were hearing. The Greek word for “take heed” is “blepo,” and it means to see, to be observant. In this sense, it’s used in a metaphorical sense, which is to see/hear with your mind or your heart. Yes, it’s true, your mind can see. Remember the phrase, “with our mind’s eye”? And then, Paul talks about the eyes of our hearts in Ephesians. It doesn’t matter, mind or heart, I think both are the same.
So, what should we be careful about? About how we hear. The idea has to do with what means or in what manner we hear. Then, Jesus gives them the reason why they should be careful about how they hear: “For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him” (Luke 8:18).
Recently, I went through a physical challenge that caused me to spend weeks without walking; being limited in my mobility during those days, I had ample time to work on my listening. Jesus is right, we should be very careful about how we hear, because this seems utterly unfair. People who already have will receive more, and those who do not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them? Where is the justice and fairness in that? Well, here are some of my thoughts about all this.
I believe it has much to do with the heart. In evaluating the ups and downs of my past weeks, I think I understand there are at least three different ways we can hear. I want to offer these ways as “heart attitudes.”
I think Jesus issued this warning because, as I have learned, it’s possible to “hear” with an indifferent heart, not caring about the lesson the Lord is giving to us. Probably nothing more need be said about that. If that isn’t the case for you, then have you ever found yourself “hearing” with a critical heart? Honestly, in my humanness, I must admit there have been times when I was just looking for something I could criticize, and then even try to use what I was criticizing to confuse others. Neither of these seems to be a wise option.
I have saved the best one for the last. We should “hear” with a willing heart…willing to learn and obey God’s Word. Revelation 3:22 says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
But that’s not all! In the second half of the verse, we have two different types of people…those who have, and those who “seem” to have, or “thinks that he has.” It’s important that we understand this difference. In the spiritual sense, it’s true that when we truly hear the Lord speak to us and are obedient to what He says and are learning, the Lord will continue to bless us with more and more truth as we continue in obedience. This is a wonderful promise the Lord will keep, if we give Him the chance.
I pray that for 2019, each of us will be like Samuel who said to the Lord in 1 Samuel 3:10, “…Speak; for Your servant hears.”
Pastor Dan Hicks