And He said to them, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
- Mark 4:9
It is possible to hear God's Word with our ears, but not with our hearts. Jesus knew that we can often hear without understanding. That is why He would so often say, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" If we were to paraphrase that in our modern language, Jesus would be saying, "Pay attention to what I'm saying. Listen carefully to what I am telling you right now."
He who has ears to hear, let him hear!...It is attention with intention.
I do quite a bit of traveling. When I get on a plane and take my seat, I really don't listen carefully to the safety message that the flight attendants give before every single flight. They have a long list of information to give out, pointing out the exits and the location of the oxygen masks and life vests. But often I don't pay attention. I may look at a magazine instead. Because I have heard it so many times, I think I don't need to listen.
But what if a few minutes after takeoff the pilot came on the intercom again and said something like this? "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties, and the flight attendant is going to go through that safety message for you one more time," I can guarantee you that I would be listening.
Why? Because my life would depend on it. I would really want to know where those exits are, how to use my seat as a flotation device, and what steps I might need to take to survive an emergency.
When you think about it, that's how we need to be reading the Word of God. Not as a ho-hum morning routine where we're skimming a passage and not really even thinking about it. No, we need to listen carefully. It is attention with intention, listening with the desire to apply what we have read to our own daily situations, because so much depends on that infusion of wisdom and life. Probably more than we'll ever know.