This morning as I read God’s word, the theme of Hearing God’s Word just everywhere. Here some the points that I gather:
All hears, but few bears fruit.
Was reading from Mark 4:1-20 where Jesus spoke in Parables and explained the meaning of the parable. There are 4 group of hearers. Everybody does hear. Some even receive it joyfully at once. But only few bears fruit at the end. Why is it so?
Hence it’s not a simplistic matter of hearing vs not hearing. It’s not even the comparison between accepting vs rejecting. What I think Jesus getting at is the fruitfulness as result of that hearing.
The good soil is differentiated with these verbs: welcome and bear. To welcome somebody or something has deeper involvement than simply accept or receive. It takes great effort to welcome. And to bear is definitely a very loaded word which indicate not only great effort, sacrifice, but also long endurance, with the eyes set on the outcome of that long bearing. It is a hard labor (though could be accepted joyfully).
A Life worths living
If I just lump it quickly, the next verses (21-34) would probably the promises that would follow as consequences of the consecrated hearing.
There is first responsibility to declare and boldly make known instead of hiding the truth. And at the same time, the promise of fruitfulness that follows. And even it would measure up unto eternity. Which at the very last, it would be the most glorious thing of all universe; the kingdom of God with all its glory and majesty.
Hence, how well we hear is not a small matter.
Something about deceit
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.” ~Jer 17:9-10
Here what God says about mankind. Our own hearts is the enemy for true hearing. Because the deceit is there, and if we don’t surrender our hearts to the Lord, we won’t be able to hear properly and hence bearing fruit that last.
Mark says the deceit of wealth could choke the growth. In a similar way, the deceit in our hearts would stun our spiritual growth. Yet often we would rather trust on own devices than putting our trust in God.
A similar promise of fruitfulness for trusting in God in verses 6-7. They will be like a tree planted by water that never fails to bear fruit.
Hence I am convinced that in order for the Word of God to bear fruits in one’s life, one has to take it wholeheartedly, soak in it, and endure it with much patience, stick your neck out, declare it. In the process might seems and looks like fools. But at the end, the very end, would not be ashamed. It is a high calling with high return.
Cry of the heart
Also similarly from Psalm 119: 25-32
I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word. (v25)
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word. (v28)
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees. (v26)
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law. (v29)
It sounds to me like a heart cry out to God for some kind of salvation and strength from God when one is ridiculed or persecuted for following God’s ways. It is definitely not an easy path. The path to fruitfulness is messy. And it requires humility plus that unquenched desire to be taught by God. When I read this Psalm 119, at every sentence, it pleas God to teach him, as if that’s the only thing that keeps him alive. Is that your heart desire? Do you desire it so badly that every petition is about God revealing His law?
And it’s interesting for the first time I notice how he ended this part with:
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.
There’s God’s enlargement of our capacity. In a way a sense of fruitfulness that comes from sticking to God’s way.
To summarise the points (you may have done a better job than me), I think God’s Word is truth. Blessed are all who stick to it in the face of oppositions or whatever else in this world. If we seek to glorify God through bearing of much fruits, there seem to be the only way, abiding in Him and His words, like what Jesus says. Since it’s true, the outcome is guaranteed. May God give you the grace as we cry out to Him.