“To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them.” - Mark 4:25
People often talk about “where they received their education.” They usually mean “where they went to school.” Speaking of receiving an education in these terms suggests that an education is complete once graduation has been achieved. It also assumes that while people are in college they are busy being educated, while quite often they have insufficient time to attend classes without interrupting their social life! Peter Drucker, the management expert, said that an educated person is someone who has learned how to learn and never stops learning. Perhaps we should not talk about where we received an education but about how our education is progressing.
This was the thrust of Jesus’ teaching about the lamp, the basket, and the bed (Mark 4:21). When a light “comes” into a room it is not promptly placed under a basket or a bed. The purpose of light is to be seen and to make sight possible. To hide a lamp would be counterproductive. It would not only fail in its objective of lighting the room, but the law of unintended consequences would apply: The lamp would light the house—on fire!
Jesus’ next saying is “Everything that is now hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light” (4:22). This suggests that while the objective of bringing light is not to hide it, that is precisely what happened in his ministry! The hidden things will be revealed, but only to those who take the trouble to listen.
There is no problem in ascertaining what Jesus expected people to listen to and what the secret is that would be revealed: “the secret about the Kingdom of God” (4:11). Jesus was telling his disciples that, in his own coming into the world, there had been a great revelation of God’s purposes and his kingdom, but there was still much more to be revealed—the lamp was still under the bucket and the bed. His disciples must constantly be open to new discoveries of his plans and purposes. In other words, they must not stop learning!
Jesus promised, ”To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given” (4:25). In other words, those who listen to what Jesus tells them receive even more insight into God’s eternal purposes. But Jesus also warned, “To those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them.” Those who do not pursue God’s self-revelation find the little they had learned slowly disappears.
God has no intention of leaving the message of the kingdom under a bed. He puts it out in the open where Christian disciples never stop learning. And they never graduate.
For Further Study: Mark 4:21-25