Summary: If you and I want the influence of our lives to have a multiplying effect in this world, then we must hear the Word; believe it and do it!
A lawyer, a doctor and a preacher were hunting together when they came upon a big buck. All three of them shot at the same time, and the buck immediately dropped to the ground. The lawyer, the doctor and the preacher rushed in to examine their prey, but they could not determine whose shot had actually killed the deer.
They got into a heated argument which drew the attention of a game warden. He asked them what their problem was, and the doctor told him that they were arguing about who shot the buck. The officer took one, quick look at the buck and confidently declared, “The preacher shot the buck!” When they all asked him how he could be so sure, the officer said, “Easy. The bullet went in one ear and out the other.” (As retold by P. J. Alindogan, The Potter's Jar blog, “Hearing,” 3-4-12; www.PreachingToday.com)
I’m afraid that’s what happens when a lot of people hear God’s Word: It goes in one ear and out the other. And that’s too bad, because this Book (hold up the Bible) will absolutely change your life if you take the time to really listen to it.
Tell me: Are you tired of the life you are living? Are you tired of the mess or even just the mediocrity of your life? Has it become boring to you? Then I invite you to turn with me to Mark 4, Mark 4, where Jesus tells a story that illustrates the amazing impact God’s Word can have on your life.
Mark 4:1-8 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables [those are short stories with a point, anecdotes with a lesson], and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, 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, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” (NIV)
Back then, a yield of 10 times the amount of seed sown was considered a great crop, but Jesus is promising yields of 30, 60, or even 100 times! Your life can be tremendously fruitful and productive, but first of all you have to…
HEAR GOD’S WORD.
You have to open your ears to his message. You have to listen to what he has to say. In fact, that’s exactly what Jesus invites us to do both before and after he tells this short story. In verse 3, He said, “Listen.” And in verse 9, He says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” God’s Word will have absolutely no effect on your life unless you take the time to hear it, unless you take the time to listen.
In his book Stress Fractures, Charles Swindoll talks about the days when his children were young. He writes: I vividly remember some time back being caught in the undertow of too many commitments in too few days. It wasn't long before I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day.” Before long, he admits, things at home started reflecting the pattern of his hurry-up style.
Swindoll distinctly recalls the words of his younger daughter, Colleen, after supper one evening. She wanted to tell him about something important that had happened to her at school that day. She hurriedly began, “Daddy-I-wanna-tell-you-somethin'-and-I'll-tell-you-really-fast.”
Suddenly realizing her frustration, Swindoll answered, “Honey, you can tell me … and you don't have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.”
Swindoll never forget her answer: “Then listen slowly.”
Let me tell you something. We can’t listen to God if we’re too much in a hurry or too busy. We need to slow down enough to really hear what He has to say. In other words, we need to listen slowly. We need to stop on a regular basis, take the time to open God’s Word and hear what He has to say to us.
If you want a life that’s fruitful and productive, then 1st of all you have to hear God’s Word. But if that’s all we do, it’s not going to do us much good. So 2nd, if we want our lives to count for something, we must also…