As I reflected on a message I shared 2 years ago on the importance of listening to Jesus to gain a deeper understanding of His love and teachings, it struck me to ask about the posture in which I geared myself in hearing God’s Word.
In the message, I stressed the need to draw close to God in order to be able to hear Him clearly. As I pondered on the parable of the Sower it somehow prompted me to ask myself this question: What kind of hearer am I?
Jesus describes four types of hearers who receive the Good News in different ways in the parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:4-8 where “some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” And the following statement in verse 9 is striking, “He who has ears, let him hear.”
In other words, we should continually ask ourselves, “What kind of hearer am I?” So that in our hearing of God’s Word we also seek to understand it.
How passionate is our heart in seeking to understand the Gospel? When we hear it told again and again, does it merely lay on the surface as commonplace? When our faith is put to the test, do we find ourselves putting hope in everything else but the Good News? Or, when we become anxious about the cares of this world, do we find ourselves grasping for a firm foundation that isn’t there or is not based on God’s Word of assurance? These are vital questions that could help us reflect or even gauge our posture in listening to God’s messages.
Hence, the seed that falls on the good soil describes a completely different reception. The hearer receives the word, understands it as well as putting it into practice just as James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says,” for it would be our strong foundation that builds on a rock as Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 7:24-25.
Our action that initiated out of our hearing and understanding completes the process of being a good listener! Let us listen to the Word of God with an attentive and receptive heart and let us be reminded to ask ourselves from time to time as a disciple of Jesus “What kind of hearer am I?”