So far, we talked about how God veils himself because he does not want to overwhelm us and make us believe, but he is creating space for us to seek God and respond on our own. Along those same lines, we also talked about how Jesus spoke in parables because he wanted to reveal the deeper meaning to those who were interested in a relationship with him. Because in the end, it is not religion that saves us, but a relationship with Jesus.
Where do we go from here? This passage sounds very encouraging. Seek a relationship with Jesus and you will have a deeper understanding of spiritual truths that alludes most. I can do that.
But instead of an encouragement, there is a warning that comes at the end of the passage about the lamp on a stand and how we need to put our spiritual understanding, or light, on a stand so that all can see it (and not under a bowl).
24″Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Mark 4:24-25)
These are chilling verses. Consider carefully what you hear. This means, there is no such thing as a casual message. We can’t get off the hook and say, God, I wasn’t really paying attention to that podcast. The more we hear, the more we are held accountable before God to those truths.
It says, with the measure you USE, it will be measured to you — and even more. We hear something and then apply what we hear in a useful way and that becomes a standard by which we will be measured. And it says, “and even more,” meaning, we will be held by an even higher standard than even what we use.
Secret knowledge comes with an immense responsibility to live according to what we hear. Not only that, if hearing needs to be followed by useful practice, then a second spiritual principle applies. To those who hear a parable and learn its hidden meaning and live by it, then more spiritual insight will be given. Because this person gets it. Like the parable of the talents. The faithful servant took 10 talents and produced 10 more. This kind of person who faithfully stewards the amount of spiritual understanding he/she has already received and puts it to good use, this person can be entrusted with even greater amounts of spiritual understanding.
It’s like once you conquer trigonometry, you graduate and are ready for calculus. You have to learn how to dribble before you are ready to be part of a basketball team and be the leading scorer.
The reverse is also true. If you don’t conquer trigonometry, then you won’t be ready for calculus. And if you can’t dribble, you won’t be a leading scorer. This same principle applies in our Christian lives. To those who hear a parable and learn its deeper meaning and don’t put it to good use, then “even what he has will be taken from him.” So God is like, until you master the basics, why should I reveal the deeper things to this person? And he asks us, can you just be faithful in your personal devotional time and instead of saying I want to be used to save the world and maybe I will entrust you with someone to take care of…
On the days when I am down spiritually and I entertain for a moment the thought of relegating my spiritual life to just a Sunday thing, I am struck with these verses. I know I have experienced too much and I have received the “secret” things of God to such a degree that even if I wanted to walk away from the narrow road, I couldn’t because I would be haunted by what I know to be true.
There is a Day of Judgment awaiting all of us when we will be face to face with God alone and he will inspect our lives and evaluate what we did with the spiritual understanding that he gave to us. It is my prayer that on that day, I will hear from God, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”