Jesus has an odd explanation for teaching in parables, “so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand” (Luke 8:10), as if Jesus does not want his listeners to learn. Quite the opposite, actually.
“A sower went out to sow his seed,” Jesus begins a lesson, “and as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold” (Luke 8:5-8). The farmer sows the seed, the teacher gives all an opportunity to hear the good news. Now the soil has its part to play.
I remember sitting at my desk at school, an eye on the clock because recess and kickball were only minutes away. The learner had already left the classroom. When grades were important, however, I paid attention–for the grades. But there came a time when I connected class to life and listened and learned and understood and applied what I was taught, and it was then that “some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.”
As Jesus said these things, he called out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’” ~Luke 8:8
Jesus teaches in parables not simply so his hearers will learn, but so they will want to learn and seek more. You may listen with your ears and think with your brain, but you learn with your heart.
My Lord and God, the heavens declare Your glory, the world Your beauty and Your order and Your thoughtfulness and Your care. There was a time when I missed the message, but that was my fault. I was not paying attention, thinking of other things (usually myself). Thank You for opening my eyes and my heart. I see You everywhere I look now.
Keep me attentive, Lord, to Your wonders and Your ways. May I always love Your Word and delight in knowing You more. I’m paying attention now.