Summary: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” is dicussed in depth, with practical application. What type of soil are you? Don’t be so quick to say good soil, most in American Christians are rocky or weedy soil.
A middle-aged man was distraught over his wife’s stubborn refusal to admit she had a hearing problem. One day he asked his family doctor for advice how to convince his wife that she has a hearing problem. The doctor promptly told him that when he got home he could confirm the hearing problem by opening the front door and from there asking his wife what’s for dinner.
Then the doctor said, if she doesn’t answer, move closer to the kitchen. Repeat the question again, and if she still doesn’t answer, move right up to her ear and whisper in it, “What’s for dinner, honey?” In this way, the doctor assured him, she’ll have to admit she has the problem.
So the man raced home with joy in his heart and opened the front door. “What’s for dinner, honey?” he asked. His wife made no reply, so he moved closer to the kitchen and asked again. “What’s for dinner, honey?” Again, nothing was said. When he looked into the kitchen, sure enough, there she was at the kitchen counter. So, he tiptoed over to her and whispered in her ear, “What’s for dinner, honey?” She turned and looked at him straight in the eye: “For the 3rd time, I said, we’re having MEAT LOAF!”
We see in verse 9 Jesus saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” – this of course pertains to the hearing and understanding of spiritual matters. Those who cannot hear do not get it, and those who can hear, clearly understand.
I think typically we read this parable and the explanation of the parable given by Jesus and we say to ourselves, “I’m so glad my heart is the good soil that Jesus holds up as an example of strong faith, I feel so sorry for all those poor people whose hearts are rocky, weedy or hard soil”. It is very clear that the good soil are people who hear and understand the Word of God and the other soils are people who have trouble hearing the Word of God, so when we read a passage like this, I think we generally see ourselves in the best light possible, because we go to church, we know about Jesus, and we believe, so we take heart in our belief and move on to the next passage. This is a very serious mistake. Do not assume your heart is the good soil because you believe.
Did you notice that the twelve closest people to Jesus, the people who Jesus called, the people who were believers – the twelve disciples are so stumped by the parable that Jesus has to explain it to them in detail? The twelve disciples, at this point, cannot be good soil, for they do not understand. If the twelve disciples are not good soil, what makes you so quick to think that you are good soil? You in fact, might be a soil of lesser quality.
So what kind of soil are you this morning? And, I think more importantly for a lot of us here this morning, how can we work our soil, so that our hearts become the good soil that Jesus seeks for us to be? See, the disciples not getting the parable is good news for us. We see in verse 11 that Jesus tells them that the secret has been given to them. In effect Jesus tells us that though the disciples do not get the parable now, there is a time that they will get it, there is a time where they will be able to understand. That was true for them, and it is also, possibly true for us. Let’s take a look at how this can be true for us.
If you have done even a little bit of gardening you know all dirt is not equal. There is dirt, there is good dirt, and then there is extraordinary dirt. Sometimes you are blessed with great dirt and sometimes your dirt won’t even grow weeds. My yard here in Anchorage is a place blessed with extraordinary dirt. My house is built on a bog and the yard around it is several feet deep of peat. My lawn is just phenomenal. People come over, and take off their shoes and walk around barefoot telling me how thick and wonderful my lawn is, they ask in wonder – “How do you get your lawn so thick and rich?”. I don’t say this to brag, because I don’t do anything to it except mow it. I rarely even water it. The lawn is so great not because of the care it receives, (or in this case the lack of care it receives) the lawn is great because the soil in sits in is good soil. This is what we want for our spiritual lives, the more open or heart is to God the better the soil is, the more our yield will be in our spiritual life.