The Rich Get Richer

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

“Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.

“Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.

“The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

“Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” (Luke 8:11–18)

It hardly seems fair what Jesus said, that the one who has will get even more, while the one who lacks will lose even the little he has. But Jesus was not talking about the redistribution of physical wealth. Instead, Jesus was talking about what happens when the message of God is taught. He was commenting on his parable of the sower and the scattered seeds: those who pay attention learn and those who don’t, don’t. Those who listened carefully to what God had to say would understand God even better, while those who didn’t pay attention to God’s words would lose even what limited understanding of spiritual matters they had.

Carefully paying attention to what God has to say brings ever greater understanding to people, while ignoring God leaves them in greater ignorance. Jesus was merely describing the reality of teaching human beings.

It’s one thing to not know; it’s another thing to “know” something that isn’t so. Then, in order to learn, we first have to unlearn something wrong. That’s the state the Pharisees were in: they were in a knowledge deficit. So what they thought they knew, even that was taken from them. The Pharisees and those like them were in a state akin to someone who has tried and failed to make a repair. When the repair person arrives, he has to undo our attempted fix before he can focus on the actual repair. We must pay attention to God’s words or we will remain ignorant or even worse than ignorant: misinformed.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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