16“No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. 18Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.”
This is a puzzling passage, unless taken in the context of the previous parable and its interpretation. In telling the parable, Jesus is bringing light. It is not his intention to hide the light, even though it may seem so to those who are not paying attention, those who do not, like the disciples, ask the question, “What does it mean”. God did not send Jesus into the world to hide the light, or do keep things secret. Jesus is saying that paying attention, hearing and doing the word of God, brings one into fellowship with him.
Taken in this context, then, the idea that for those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away, makes sense. Those who come to Jesus with an open mind, willing to learn, willing to hear the parable and take it away with them, turning in their minds as they go, they will receive from it, and from all Jesus’ teachings. But those who come to him with their minds closed, who already “know” all they need to know, then what they seem to have is false, and will be taken away when truth is known. The Pharisees came in that way. They become angry when Jesus tells a parable and they recognize themselves in it. They are not interested in learning something more.
Thus, we add these words to Jesus’ teaching about the sower – we must have hearts willing to hear and accept, willing to ask “what does it mean?”, and willing to let the seed of the Kingdom grow within us, until we ourselves can sow our own seeds, producing a hundred-fold. I could pray that one seed that I have sown might fall where it will produce a hundred-fold, a hundred people dedicated to the love of Christ in their hearts – couldn’t you?