Jesus said to the crowd: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” [Luke 8:16-18, NAB]
What does this parable mean to you? Do you think in terms of wealth and riches? Do you think in terms of talents and skills? Why then would the Lord take even more wealth and riches from one who already does not have them? Why would the Lord take talents and skills away from those who already do not have them?
Think about this. The Lord says “Take care, then, how you hear.” He is saying to concentrate on what He is going to say because we may not understand without considerable reflection. We may misinterpret it based upon what is in our hearts when we hear Him. What is in our hearts may be very materialistic and selfish. What is in our hearts may be very angry and coarse. The way we see may be blocked by darkness in our hearts.
Ah. That is it isn’t it? What’s in our hearts? What is in YOUR heart? Can you perceive? Are you able to see clearly? Whatever is bright in your heart comes out as if from a lamp on a lampstand, does it not? It can not be hidden. You do not desire to hide it. Love compels you to emit Light so that goodness may be revealed. If you are kind, kindness comes out. If you are gentle, gentleness comes out. If you are compassionate, compassion comes out. It is filled with Light, and it is so strong that it can not be hidden. It is compelled by Love. It burns bright because you allow Love to enter in and stay, and you nurture Love through attempted obedience to everything that is truly good. You will the good.
And when you will to love, you emit light, and more “fuel” is given you in return. You receive more and more spiritual “fuel” for your lamp, so much that you must and can store up this “fuel.” You can receive more “fuel” because your “heart” is healthy and supple and grows and makes room for more so that even more Light can shine through you. This “fuel” is from God; it is Grace.
But, if what is in your heart is darkness, how dark that darkness will be, true? If bitterness and anger and hatred spew from your heart, this is darkness. There is very little light that can come from such darkness – the light that is there is like a smoldering ember crushed under the weight of disobedience. Even the flickering light that is in there can be taken away or smouldered because disobedience, like a tar, closes in and chokes the flame. The tar hardens and the heart can not expand. There is no room for spiritual “fuel” to keep the lamp alight. It can do no good unless the disobedience ceases and the cleansing and healing begin. You must will this. It is your own will which allows this to happen. God does not force you. God, with infinite Love, invites you through the gift of your own free will. And if you obey His Will, you can be cleansed and healed.
But see? If you will to remain dark, you hide yourself even from God. You do not want to be seen. You do not want to give any light. Darkness is more important to you. But know this, that you can not hide forever. Your darkness will come to the Light. It will be revealed and judged.
Yes, if you have grown dark and tarred and hard and sick, the Light will one day show your sickness. Indeed, you must show your sickness now to the Divine Physician that He may see the depth and breadth of your sickness and heal you. No physician cures a patient unless he can inspect the wound or disease. You must admit your disobedience – your sinfulness – your past sins. You must do this in order to be cured. Humility must conquer pride. Pride lies and hardens and closes your heart and kills you; humility tells truth and softens and opens your heart that God may heal you.
My dear friends. Make room for God in your heart now. Let Him in now. He wills your salvation and sanctification and happiness. He will cleanse you of your darkness and make you healthy that you may be warm and bright, a happy living delight. Love compels you to love and you are happy. And the brighter you are and remain, the brighter you will become.
How bright can your lamp be? How deep can your spiritual “fuel tanks” grow? How much can your heart expand? How healthy and happy can you be?
Think infinity. Think forever. God gives Grace and we accept it, and remain soft and supple and resilient and ever more able to receive and retain His Grace. We live.
Equally so, how dark can your lamp be? How small can your spiritual “fuel tanks” shrink? How sick and sad can you be?
Think infinity. Think forever. God gives Grace but we reject it, and we become hard and brittle and fractured and unable to receive and retain His Grace. We die.
Our time on earth is a trying time. It is an opportunity for a choice. There is one right choice, and it is a good and happy choice. Choose God, and all will be made well for us if we persevere. We will be given Grace upon Grace. Disobey God, and we condemn ourselves. Grace will be taken away from us, even that little Grace we think we have retained.