Introduction: This week I was talking to a preacher who just celebrated his 70th birthday. He’s one of the busiest men I know. He travels all over the world in ministry, writes books, and pastors a church. We talked about the fatigue we sometimes feel in the Lord’s service. But, he said, the practice of pouring himself into God’s Word every day rejuvenates him. He said that he is currently studying Hebrews. It’s the book he’s preaching from in his pulpit, but also the book that he’s pouring himself into. He’s like a boy in a candy store. The freshness and excitement of Scripture recharges his batteries. We hear the voice of the Lord, meet God in His Word, and our strength is renewed like the eagle’s. Luke 8:1-21 is a series of statements, parables, and stories all having to do with being holy hearers. How we listen to God makes or breaks us as human beings. The key verse in this section is verse 18: Take care then how you hear.
- Respect God’s Word (v. 1-3). Jesus went through all the cities and towns of Galilee proclaiming His Good News. This message had the power to change the lives of the men and the women who heard Him (a group of fifteen people are mentioned in these three verses).
- Read it (v. 4-8). Jesus told the Parable of the Sower and then He cried out (note the force of the verb—“cried”): He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
- Hold it (v. 9-15). As Jesus interpreted His parable, He described four groups of people—all of whom are said to have heard His word. He likened them to soils. The first group heard but did not believe. The second group heard, but never gained any depth. The third group heard but was distracted by cares, riches, and pleasure. But the fourth group where those who, “hearing the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
- Share it (v. 16-18). Jesus followed His story up with another parable—the lamp under the jar. The key point, again, is hearing (v. 18). This is a message that cannot be kept to ourselves. As we respect it, read it, and hold it, we cannot help sharing it.
- Do it (v. 19-21). The last story in this sequence presses home the importance of obedience: “My mother and brothers,” said Jesus, “are those who hear the Word of God and do it.
Conclusion: There is a practice in ancient Catholicism and medieval mysticism known as Lectio Divina – Holy Reading. In its classic form, there are four steps to Lectio Divina: Lectio (you read the Scripture); Meditatio (you meditate on it, pondering each phrase); Oratio (you pray through the text); and Contemplaio (you take the text with you as you walk with God in daily obedience). To do this consistently is our most important Christian habit. A good way to begin is to find a daily time and place for contemplative Bible reading and began practicing it every day. “Take care then,” said Jesus, “how you hear.”