Active Listening

April 9, 2013

This week's blog is a reflection from Radial Church Pastor Drew Meziere in response to last week's sermon exploring Jesus' Parable of the Soils.

We live in a culture that places an emphasis on being served and when served it should be done as quickly as possible. Look around; our economy is now based on the service industry and the idea that someone should be serving us, whether it is our food, coffee, entertainment, etc. What this has done is teach us at a very young age to be passive in life. We think that our needs will be met with as little effort on our part as possible because there will be someone waiting on us or giving us direction.

            So it is with little surprise that Jesus challenges the idea of having passive followers. In the parable of soils (Mark 4:1-20), there are four soils mentioned. Jesus uses these different types of soils as a metaphor for the different responses people have to the Word of God. The first three soils; the path, the rocks and the thorns; yield no harvest, but the good soil yields a harvest of thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold.

We must ask ourselves as we hear/read this parable: what is the difference between the soils? The difference is found in how the soils “heard” the Word of God. The Greek word for “hear” in this passage is akouo. When akouo is used in conjuction with three soils that produced no harvest, it is found in the aorist tense. This means that the hearing was a one-time event. The Word of God went in one ear and out the other for these soils. Then, when akouo is used in regards to the good soil it is found in the present tense. This means that the hearing is continual and on-going. So this soil continues to hear God’s Words.

The difference then is between people who are passive and active. Where the Word of God failed to grow was when it was spoken among passive listeners, people who were unwilling to engage with or act upon the Gospel message. Where God’s Word grew was when it was spoken among active listeners, people who were compelled to act in faith upon the message which they heard.

So today, we face this question: what kind of listeners are we? Do we fall in with the rest of our society and expect to be served at every turn? Do we view Christianity or attending a Church as some religious service that caterer to our spiritual need as human beings? Or do we see Christianity as more than just some passive activity we do on Sunday mornings? Is Christianity a lifestyle to us? Or is it another product for people to consume?

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