I've been reading from Luke for my personal devotions, and the story Jesus told in Luke 8 about the sower of seed caused me to pause and consider.
Jesus explained that as the sower sowed, the seed he planted fell in different places. Some seed fell along the road where people traveled, so it was trampled underfoot then was eaten by the birds; some fell on rocks, and, though it grew quickly, it withered away and died because it lacked necessary moisture; some seed fell in the middle of thorns, and as the thorns grew with it they choked it's life away; finally, some fell on the good ground and grew up then produced a plentiful crop.
Jesus told the people who were listening that any willing to hear His words needed to pay attention, then His disciples asked Him to explain what His story meant. Jesus responded by telling them that though they were given the ability to know the mystery of the kingdom of God others were not, so He spoke to them in parables. He further explained that He did this because even though many could see with natural eyes they could not see with spiritual eyes, and even though many could hear with natural ears they could not hear with spiritual ears. Then He explained to His disciples what His story meant.
Jesus told them the seed was God's Word and the different places the seed fell was people's receptiveness to God's Word. The wayside was those who heard but what they heard was stolen away from them by the devil before they could believe. The rock was those who heard and believed but gave in to temptation and lost their faith. The thorns were those who heard but let the cares of life prevent them from growing and producing. Then the good ground was those who heard, applied, then produced the right fruit.
As I read these words of Jesus from Luke verse 18 jumped off the page at me. Jesus said, "Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away," (Luke 8:18, ESV). Jesus said we need to be careful about how we hear what He says. Those of us who receive willingly from what He says will be given more, but those of us who take His Word lightly, reject it after hearing it, or pay no attention to it will not receive any benefit from it and will then lose any benefit we think we might have gained. It matters how I receive His Word when it's presented to me.
Jesus said in Luke 13:34, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," (ESV). Proverbs 2:4-5 says, "If you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God," (ESV). Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life," (ESV).
If my heart is set for seeking the knowledge of God as if it were the most valuable thing to me, then I will know God and out of my life will flow the fruit of my relationship with Him. As I learn and retain knowledge of Him I'll be given more knowledge about Him to learn and retain. I must protect this process because it is what makes the difference for my own life, and it's how I am made able to make a difference for those around me. Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38, ESV.)
I've prayed since I was a young child for God to help me value truth, but many of my life experiences have tried to rob that value from me. Now, as an older adult, I've found myself, again, asking God to help me value truth. I want to hear and do His Word because I want it to make a difference in my life. I want it to change me. And I also want His work in me to flow out and give life to others. That's my heart treasure.