"In Acts 10:44-48 we learned how those Gentiles in Cornelius' house listened to the Word as Peter preached and welcomed and believed it. So to the faith they already had, God added the gift of the Holy Spirit, shown by speaking in tongues. Then because no one could then deny that God was at work in them, the Apostles gave them the gift of baptism. TO those who have, more will be given.
On the other hand, if we cover the lamp with a basket, if we refuse to really listen, then even the light which has come will be taken away, even the message we've heard won't be offered anymore. There will come a day when we won't have the opportunity to see or to listen any further. Even the little light that has managed to get through will be taken away.
It's not injustice. It's the greatest justice of all. God treats us as we want to be treated. If we want to be with Jesus, if we want to learn from Him, if we give Him our time and attention, then we will receive more and more of His grace. But if we want to hide from him, if we want to be left alone, if we shut out His light and plug our ears, then He will hive us what we want and take away even the tiny bit of light that's gotten through.
The Jewish rabbis had a saying similar to what Jesus says here. They said that for human beings we don't normally add anything to a cup or dish that's full, but that for God it's exactly the cup which has something in it into which God pours more. That's how it is when we listen and respond to Jesus.
God can't work with us if we keep our lives absolutely empty of anything spiritual. It's like you or I trying to work with a computer that has no software on it. Without an operating system, or, at an even deeper level, without some formatting, a hard drive is just a complicated hunk of metal and silicon. It need some information, some structure, before you can add anything else. Our souls are the same way. Until we open them up and let Jesus put a responsive faith there, He can't do anything more with us.
Yet lay down the formatting on the hard drive, install an operating system, then you can add all kinds of software. To the computer that has, much more can be given. You can talk to your friends on Facebook, balance your checking account, read the news, watch a movie, study a foreign language and do thousands of other things, useful or entertaining or both. In the same way, the soul that lets God lay down the basic operating system of faith in Jesus Christ is ready to receive more and more of God's blessing."
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Understanding Mark 4:25
Steve's May 13, 2012 sermon has helped me to finally understand this verse. (By the way, Mark 4:25 not a justification of Republican political theory!)