Posted by: gmscan | October 6, 2011

To the One Who Has, More will be Given?

Almost everyone reading this blog has a deeper understanding of Scripture than I do. Some have been studying and living with it all their lives.

I am new to it. Perhaps the only contribution I can make is that very newness.  Sometimes it can be invigorating to see the world afresh, though the eyes of a child.  Plus, I am foolish enough to say honestly how things seem to me. I am not trying to impress anyone, and my understanding may sometimes be way off base. When that happens I hope you will correct me.

One of the most misunderstood passages of the gospel, it seem to me, is Mark 4:25 – “For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

I have heard this verse used to suggest that believers will prosper materially, and to justify great wealth.  But this isn’t remotely what Jesus was talking about here.

This verse comes in the middle of a series of parables, including the parable of the sower.  Jesus explains to the twelve: “The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.”  Those on rocky ground receive the word with joy, but have no roots, so “when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.” For those sown among the thorns, “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word. But for those that were sown on good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear good fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:13 – 20)

We are not bearing the fruit of wealth, but the fruit of knowledge of the kingdom of God. Jesus goes on to say in the parable of the seed growing, the kingdom of God is “as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain of the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

These are all describing how the word of the kingdom of God is planted in man and how it will grow when planted well. And so it is with “the one that has.” What he has is the word of God, and that is what we will be given more of. If we do not have it, or if we have it and it is poorly planted, it will be taken away as we get distracted by worldly concerns.

Also important here is that Jesus did not expect his followers to live well. He said there would be tribulation and persecution on account of the word.  He said that chasing after riches and “desires for other things” would choke the word.

In Matthew 10:16-22 he warned the twelve that they would be persecuted and flogged for their faith – “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

It may be hard to be true to the word when the world hates you for it, will persecute you and belittle you for believing. Those pressures can cause us to hide our beliefs or even deny them. But Jesus had an answer for this as well – “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear,”  (Mark 4:21) If we are well-rooted we don’t need to be afraid because God will be our armor.  At least that is what I pray for every day – for strong roots and ears to hear.

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Responses

  1. I like the view that the word (could this also be the word incarnate?) is that which having more, more will be given, but having less, even that which one has will be taken away.

    Mathew uses that quote twice, the second time in the parable of the talents. If in that parable, the talents are still the Word, then the one who carefully preserves the word so that none of it will be lost is the one who is chastised. But the one who re-invests it in high risk ventures, this is the one who is rewarded.

    Perhaps then, in Mat 25:34, he goes on to explain what it means for the word to “yield fruit”:

    ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

    It gives you pause. As all good parables do.

    Jodie

  2. Even though in Matthew 4 Jesus was talking about the word of God, I think in Mat 25 he meant the wealth as well. He who has something, (some money and other wealth) that individual has the capacity to have more. In real terms in the economy of my country, if you have few dollars in the bank at the ed of the year it would be finished because the bank charges would eat into the little you have. The one who has more in the bank has more interest and the bank charges would not take all that is in the account.

    The encouragement and teaching that Jesus was giving us is that we need to have something that help us grow in the Kingdom of God. Have some love, joy, peace, self-control, kindness, goodness, compassion e.t.c and these would be given more divinely. If you lack self-control, even the little that you used to have would fade away since the value for it would not be there.
    I might have said something way off, but I believe if we have…more will be given us. John 15 says the branch that produces is the one that is pruned and that which does not bear fruit is cut off.


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