By Andrea Herzer
“Then He said to them, ‘Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.’” - Mark 4:24
Some of my best memories as a child in Miami, Florida, are of blue skies, salty breezes, and the sound of seagulls overhead. My children were brought up in Central Texas, so when visiting family in Florida, I could not wait to take them to the beach to build sandcastles. Having experienced the joys of our backyard sandbox, our young son immediately began to dig with the tiny shovel he was accustomed to using. A small item can only hold a small amount, so he became easily frustrated. The sandcastle he wanted to build was taking much time and effort with little progress.
Finally, a use for my vast sandcastle expertise! I excitedly taught my children how to use all of the tools we brought with us. They quickly learned how to plunge the large bucket into wet sand near the shoreline, fill it to capacity, and dump it on firmer sand to begin our sandcastle. Fill, haul, dump, and repeat. Exhausting work, but we were rewarded as we watched the sandcastle take shape. That is, until the tide grew higher and my son wanted to experience the other joy of building a sandcastle… smashing it.
Our verse today reminds me of that memory for many reasons. In Mark 4:24, Jesus tells his disciples to carefully consider the measurement they use to dig for understanding into his teachings. Giving Jesus’ words scant attention is like digging with my son’s tiny shovel; the impact is slight. What kind of measurement are you using to scoop up all God wants to teach you? Do you just read a verse now and then, only reading more when the impulse strikes you? Do you ignore His promptings, deciding that you will be “spiritual” another day? Or do you eagerly run to His Word ready to receive a bucketful, so that you can build something that lasts with it? Investing your full attention to comprehending God’s Word will reap dividends of understanding and wisdom that far outweighs your effort. There is no greater investment program than this. And there is no time like the present.
A sandcastle on the beach is fun, but it is fleeting. We must strive to build something that lasts. We do this when put the words we read in Scripture into practice by applying them to our lives. Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27). Consider your foundation carefully, “for no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Jesus is the only true foundation for life that lasts.
My children did not know how to use the sandcastle tools until they were taught; becoming a follower of Jesus Christ is just like that. We learn how to follow and obey Jesus as we are taught Biblical truth, or discipled, by Christ-followers who are mature in their faith. If you are new to Christianity, or want to grow in your spiritual walk, I encourage you to join a Bible-believing church and become active in a Bible study. Receive God’s Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily so that you may discern truth. (Acts 17:11) May your daily practice of reading God’s Word and putting it into action yield a harvest of great blessing in your life and in the lives of those around you.
Andrea Herzer has spent the past two decades enduring life with multiple illnesses, including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Andrea is intimately acquainted with the hardships that accompany debilitating health issues. She writes devotionals on her Facebook Group (Abundant Life for Abundant Illness) to help others find the pathway to living a life that overflows with the riches of God’s sustaining love even in the midst of pain and suffering. Andrea is currently completing her first devotional book, The Way Through Illness.
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