Is That What You Got From My Story?
Matthew 13:14 “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” NIV
Jesus of Nazareth spent approximately three years surrounded by masses of people eager to hear his every word. Most likely, at various times they heard Jesus retell parables. Possibly, there were some who could even quote the punch lines. But, did all of them comprehend what they heard? Did some of them listen to his teachings and draw incorrect conclusions? Were many of them focused on the wrong message?
Let me tell you a story.
My friend, Beth, was looking for a new job. The search was discouraging and even though job offers came, none were in her desired field of education. But soon, Beth accepted a wonderful job with an inner-city elementary school. Not long afterwards, Beth stopped by the house and recounted to my daughter, Lora, and me the craziest incident that took place at her new school.
Apparently, a totally unclothed man with mental health issues broke into the school and streaked through the hallways. Immediately, the classrooms were put on lock-down while police arrived and arrested him. All local camera crews arrived as the man was handcuffed and escorted to the cop car. Lora and I stood listening in total shock to Beth’s incredible drama. But,sure enough, the story led the local news that evening.
The following day, Aunt JoAnn stopped by for a visit, and Lora, in her most dramatic rendition, retold Beth’s unbelievable new job story, including all the crazy parts of the streaker, the lock-down, the police, the cameras, and the lead story on the news. Aunt JoAnn listened intently with the same expression of shock on her face we had when we first heard the story. Lora dramatically ended the story and awaited Aunt JoAnn’s response.
Soon, Aunt JoAnn’s response came. . . . . “Did Beth get a job?” she asked.
Lora froze and stared at Aunt JoAnn, stunned by the unforeseen response to her well recounted story. “What?” Lora exclaimed. “Aunt JoAnn, is that what you got from my story, ‘Did Beth get a job?’ Did you miss the part about the streaker, the lock-down, the arrest, and the news coverage? Do I need to tell you the story again?”
I can only imagine that Jesus felt the same frustration Lora felt. How many times Jesus must have wanted to say to his audience, “Is that what you got from my parable?” “Do I need to tell you again?” Where Aunt JoAnn’s response came from love and excitement for her friend, it was not so with some who listened to Jesus. Their hearts had become calloused and hardened to the point they could not hear with their ears nor see with their eyes. (Matthew 13:15) How discouraging this must have been, because Jesus knew that a heart refusing to comprehend and accept God’s Word is the choice of the listener.
Perhaps this is our reminder to examine the condition of our heart. Are we listening to God’s Word with a soft heart that is eager to soak up instruction, know His love, and truly understand His calling? Do we have the desire of the Psalmist who prayed, “Open my eyes so that I can see all the wonderful things in your teachings?” (Psalm 119:18) Or, have we chosen a hard and calloused heart, making no attempt to see God’s will for us nor come to know His saving grace? The choice is ours to make. Sisters, may we ever choose a heart eager to understand God’s real story every single time we open His Word.
Father God, help us come to fully know your will. May we have a heart that soaks up the true meaning of your Word.