By Mike Mazyck
“He that has ears to hear, let him hear!”
That was the phrase Jesus so often used as He taught His great parables. Although many were gathered around listening, only some were hearing!
Two groups of people. Some had ears to hear, and some did not! Both would listen to the same message – from the same Man – at the same time.
One group was listening to a great teacher. The other was hearing the Savior of the world. One group would perish. The other would inherit eternal life.
The question is this — What was the distinguishing quality that would allow one group to hear and not the other? — The answer to that question has eternal implications!
Jesus himself answered that question with the very first words out of His mouth as He sat down to teach His great Sermon on the Mount.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Poverty of spirit was the distinguishing quality that separated those who could hear from those who could only listen. We see this principle taught throughout the Scriptures.
The great King David echoed this sentiment.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts
for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” Psalm 63:1
And herein lies a great truth that I fear has been lost in this version of Christianity we see so often preached today. The message of Christ is simply not for everyone. What do I mean by that?
It’s as if there is a ticket that one must present to gain admission into this great Kingdom. On the one hand, this ticket is free. On the other hand, it will cost you everything!
It is costly because, on this ticket, you must have a certain stamp. Each man will hand his ticket over as he approaches the gate to have it inspected for authenticity. It must have a stamp. The stamp not only proves the ticket’s genuineness but also shows that this man has been chosen to hear the message and enter the Kingdom. If the ticket does not have the stamp, he will remain outside – always listening but never hearing. So, what is this stamp?
It is the stamp of poverty. Now I don’t mean material poverty, but poverty of spirit. This stamp shows that the ticket holder has been broken. It shows he has come to the end of himself in this life. He has strived and failed. He has looked within and found that nothing good dwells there – only emptiness. He is lonely and without hope. He has gone internally bankrupt. He is dying of hunger and thirst within his spirit. He is desperately ill and has no cure.
But this stamp does not only show he has looked within; it shows he has also looked outside of himself and found nothing to fill the void. It shows he can testify with King David; I dwell in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
The comforts, securities, achievements, and riches of this world have become worthless to him. This stamp shows that only something infinitely greater will quench his thirst and satisfy his hunger. He is seeking a greater Kingdom.
So why am I writing these things to you?
I’m writing because I believe some of you may be at a season where you can finally hear the call. For years you listened, but you never really heard. But for some reason, this season is different.
Maybe your life is falling apart. Perhaps you have achieved everything you set out to accomplish in life, only to realize you are still empty and unfulfilled. Maybe you have lost all hope in this wicked world. It does not matter the reason. The only thing that matters is the answers to these questions.
Are you poor and broken? Have you come to the end of yourself? Are you tired and weary? Has the weight of this life become too much to bear? Are you empty inside? Have you looked within and seen that nothing good dwells there? Have you finally realized that nothing in this world will satisfy the void?
Most importantly, have you realized you are a sinner in need of forgiveness?
If you go to the doctor and describe your symptoms, they will diagnose you, and they may prescribe you medication. If you read one of the self-help books of our day, they will teach you to manage your time better so you can get more sleep and exercise. If you go to the consultants of this world, they will tell you to set bigger goals and update your vision board.
But what if those are the wrong answers? What if the last thing you want to do is figure out how to keep going? What if the most terrifying thing you could do is to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and go another five years? Another 10 years? What if the most frightening solution you could come to was somehow learning to be happy and content with this life?
What if those solutions only clog your ears once again and cost you the next life? Do you recall those words He spoke? “He that seeks to save his life will lose it. But he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”
What if all the circumstances and trials and afflictions that have brought you to this very season had been orchestrated so that at this very moment, you would finally be broken enough to hear the message at last, so that you would finally be humbled enough to bow your knee at the foot of the cross? What if all the despair and emptiness you currently find yourself in has been written into your story in eternity’s past so that at this very second, you might have your ticket stamped and enter eternal life? Could this be so?
I believe it could be. It was my story. It is my ongoing story. The same stamped ticket that admits one into the Kingdom is also the one that allows him to advance within it. It never changes! The way of the believer is continual brokenness. It is a constant emptying of oneself so that we may be filled with more of Him. The believer takes up his cross daily. The more he dies – the more he lives!
This is the life I have chosen. I will not tell you it is easy. It is, in fact, very costly. But it is LIFE! I tried it the other way, and it was death. That life was worthless. That man was worthless. I now have a reason to live! I guess you could even say, I now have a reason to die. I long for that day when I finally pass from this life to the next. I yearn for that moment when I will see Him face-to-face and when I will finally be able to bow down before His holy throne!
But until that day, I have been given a task. It is the same task for all of us who call ourselves “Christians.” To spread the message to all those who have been chosen. To call out to those who have ears to hear.
If anything I have said resonates with you, I beg you, turn from your sins! Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! Receive forgiveness and everlasting life! Seek Him while He may be found. He will not call forever. Turn to Him now, and He will give you rest! He will quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger!