Daily D – Mark 4:21-25
Mark 4:21-25 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Mk 4:21–25.
Jesus taught in parables not to conceal truth but to make it stick.
There is a problem with stories and how we listen to them. Sometimes we get so caught up in the drama or in identifying with one character or another and the true meaning of the story does not land safely in our grasp, but instead merely lands a glancing blow upon our attention without the benefit of full apprehension.
Yes, the previous sentence was long and complicated, and intentionally so. Like the parables of Jesus, we only understand if we pay attention.
A seminary instructor who was completing a terminal degree taught a class one day using the parable of the Good Samaritan. Most of the class time was spent determining who was the hero of the story. So focused was the class on straining at these gnats, the students missed the point of the parable.
Jesus says on different occasions we get what we pay for. The payment we use is focused attention. The gain we receive is the understanding and implementation of truth. When we lean in to listen to Jesus and do what he says, we discover the empowerment he provides. We come to know God as he wants to be known. We come to experience God as we do what he says, as we join him in his work of renewal and restoration.
Jesus does not whack us with yardsticks while shouting, “Listen!” He invites instead into relationships where a whispered thought is received with gratitude and leads to appropriate action.
What story, which parable, sticks in your heart and mind? What is Jesus saying to you through this story? What difference does it make in who you are, how you relate to others, and how you serve others in his name?
A parable a day leads to a more beautiful way. For example, this parable talks about the helpful use of the light you have. It is most effective when shared openly. How will you amplify your light today?
I will maximize illumination by living what I say I believe.
Our Father, thank you for stories that stick. Thank you for the meaning they convey. Thank you for the redirection they provide. Thank you for the illumination others receive when they see your truth in action in our lives. Shine your light through me to those who need to see and receive your truth and your life. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.