In Matthew 13:12 Jesus says “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” So what does that mean?
This is one of those scriptures easily misunderstood if just taken at face value. There are a lot of scriptures that when not accurately understood have been used to hurt people. This is not God’s design, but the devil will take opportunity.
Whenever I read something in the Bible that’s hard to understand I always try to remember one of our “Bible interpretation” rules. Context, context, context! Read the other verses around the scripture in question, maybe even the whole chapter, and try and put yourself in the place of the writer and the readers. When you do this it can aid a lot in understanding what is being conveyed.
If we know God’s character, and then read something that seems to be opposite that character, we can have a good clue to the possibility we are missing something. So let’s consider the above scripture. Does it sound like a good father to look at their child whom they love that’s in need and say “I’m going to take even what you have and then give it to your brother who already has so much?” I think the answer is an obvious no! The Bible says in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Clearly then we cannot interpret this scripture that way.
So what about some context? Jesus had just taught the parable of the sower who sows seed. He was equating that to those who are being taught the Word. We find a great clue to tying this all together in verse 9 when He says, “He who has ears, let him hear.” In other words, he who is determined to hear will hear the truth and understand. A few scriptures later in continuation of the explanation of why He speaks in parables we get our verse in question. What Jesus is saying by this is if someone is not willing to hear (does not have ears), they will have even what they have removed from them. They may sit in church and “listen” but since they are not determined to let the word spoken change them, even the amount they heard will be in effective. This is really summed up in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
God’s blessings, which are found in obedience to His word, don’t just happen. If you want change, you must listen and be determined to do. Many people think they do something great just because they showed up to church. Just showing up and praying once in a while doesn’t get you anywhere. People so often treat faith like a spectator sport. This thing was meant to be lived! A person unwilling to change at the hearing of God’s word is a person who never goes very far. Further more Jesus sums it all up in Matthew 13:15 quoting Old Testament scripture saying, “FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”
God is not much interested in bystander Christians. He wants people all in. His system, how all things work for humans, is by their dedication to be transformed. Without this determination, all we do will be mostly ineffective. Have ears to hear! Be one that God wants to fill with His secrets. Then you will make your way prosperous and have good success (Joshua 1:8).