Mark 4:24,25  “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.<sup class="crossreference" value="(Q)”>  Those who have will be given more; as for those who do not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

     I always thought that this scripture was harsh – ‘those who have will be given more and those who don’t will have what little they do have taken away from them’.  Is that how it goes?   It took years of living it to realize that God wasn’t taking from me; my hard heart and dull spiritual senses were the biggest thieves in my life.

     Years ago when I was an undergraduate student I listened to friends talk about their faith and I measured their words against what I little knew about science and philosophy.  My inflated ego caused me to hold my own beliefs and thoughts in the highest regard.  Other ideas and thoughts could never measure up to what I knew.  Life had not yet taught me how limited my understanding was; “Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”  (Proverbs 18:12)

     Ageing doesn’t necessarily guarantee wisdom.  We all start early adult life knowing how smart and capable we are.  The over-confidence of youth is the lack of experience that living life should remedy.  Life may be a good teacher but that is only one side of the learning equation.  As a young man my pride convinced me that there was no one as smart and as capable as ‘yours truly’.  I was so full of myself that  I couldn’t wait to share me with others; “A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind” (Proverbs 18:2).  Sadly, for those around me I remained that way for many, many years.

     It wasn’t success that convinced me otherwise.  Rather it was failure.  Success can puff up.  For me the more I succeeded the more I lost in hearing acuity.  Oh, I became a ‘churchman’ but measured the Gospel against what I knew of worldly success.  Paying lip service to but never really believing the articles of faith that older and wiser saints held on tightly to.    Friendship with the world blinded me; “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)  My success became a barrier to truly hearing what the Gospel message had to say to me.  In the flesh when sight fails  hearing improves.  Wilful spiritual blindness dulls all the senses.

     When did things started coming apart?   When my ego became more important than my family. When my health started to fail, I began to realize that what I had was being taken from me but I couldn’t figure out why.  God had to lay a terrible vision on me to get my attention.  He brought me to my knees and opened my eyes.  Then I started listening to what He had to say.  The thief in my life was the enemy of my soul and his accomplice was easily seen in my bathroom mirror.  I stopped listening to the devil’s lies about my son and my family.  I started listening to His Word;  “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

     I started to trust God with my children.  I started to believe that Jesus would finish the work He started in my son’s life;  ” . . . being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)  And as I stopped trying to control, criticize and judge,  God rebuilt my life.  My family was restored to me.  Bit by bit lost ground was recovered until now both my son and daughter are my friends.  My wife and  I stand in unity and joy.  As I started to hear God’s Word, to really listen to it and live it my life became abundant with true riches.

     Today, my mind has undergone an epistemological inversion.  I no longer measure God’s Word by my experience.  Rather I measure my experience by God’s Word and bring what I do and know into alignment with His Word.  Does this work?  I have my family back!  Every day Jesus gives me more and now I understand,  ‘Those who have will be given more’, because I finally listened.

     Jesus said; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10)

     He meant it!

     Praise the Lord!