What or who are you listening to?  And how do you listen?  During my Air Force career I had the opportunity to learn how to supervise troops, including counseling them for a variety of reasons.  This training included how to listen to them using a process called attending, paying very close attention to all that was being communicated.  One who walks with Jesus is called to ‘listen to Him’.  Are you doing this, and if so, are you attending, are you engrossed in the process?  Mark chapter 4 has Jesus beginning to teach in parables and His opening words in verse 3 were, “Listen to this!” or better translated “Pay close attention, or listen carefully”. 

Today, we can only listen to Jesus by spending time in the word that He spoke.  Is that your focus, or are you more inclined to listen to someone who has caught your ear?  God spoke from the heavens at Jesus’ transfiguration with Moses and Elijah present, saying “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!”  How much clearer must it be?  When we incline our ear to someone, we would be well served to investigate what is said as compared to the Word of God.  This would apply equally to your preacher, friends, even your favorite nationally known author.

Back to Mark chapter four… and the parable Jesus taught.  It is widely known as the parable of the soils and it has a message that Jesus clearly tells His listeners to PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to!  It is unfortunate that those listening went away scratching their heads, including the disciples of Jesus.  It was so difficult that they asked Him to explain it to them.  Now, listen to me, and then go back to Mark 4 and check it out for yourself.  There are four types of people in the world.  All of us fit into one of these categories.  All have heard the word (had the seed planted).  One group of hearers is victimized of Satan almost immediately when he snatches away the word that has been sown, taking no care in retaining what has been implanted.  Two groups hear the word and fail to persevere through peer pressure and snares of the world including worry, riches, and personal desires.  These things choke out the word in their lives.  The last group pays close attention, retains, and perseveres through trial and temptation and produces fruit!  Again Jesus reminds those with ears to hear, let him hear (verse 23).  Are you listening to Jesus or to the world and those in it?

Copyright © 2010, Nolan P. Rutter

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