With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.20 ×
References for Mark 4:33
He did not say anything to them without using a parable.21 But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. Mark 4, verses 33-34
Do you use your private time for teaching?
My kids are grown. One is married with a son, one is working full time and is about to move to Maryland, and the third is a student at college. Mind you, I don’t have many regrets about how my wife and I raised our kids. I can say that we did our best, and perhaps that is the best thing a parent can say. It is a blessing from God to be able to have and raise children, and it’s an even bigger blessing to be able to do the best you can in raising them to be strong, independent, Godly young men and women.
Yet when I look back I wish I had done a better job at being a Godly man for my kids. I spent most of their young lives earning a living as a traveling consultant. You do the job you can and do the best you can at that as well, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that I enjoyed both the pay and the perks of traveling. To have it all meant I was away from home over half the time or more. Worse, I made some terrible choices and did things that directly or indirectly affected my family, especially my kids.
When I was home, I tried to spend time with each of them but usually felt pulled in too many different directions. I did not do what Jesus did. I did not teach those closest to me the kinds of things He would want them to know. In this respect, though I say I believe I did the best I could, in reality, I still chalk up some of their struggles to my own failures as a father and inadequacies as a role model and teacher.
Now that they are grown, I still work as a traveling consultant. My wife and I have a stronger spiritual life together than we did when they were kids. We’re still doing the best we can, and sometimes that isn’t enough. But usually it will do. We are learning to involve Jesus in every aspect of our lives; that’s part of “doing your best.” I still sometimes feel pulled in too many different directions, but I’m learning to do better for them in private: to spend time in God’s word, to listen and not talk, to regularly communicate with them even when we’re apart. It’s the single best way I know to mentor them because, even when our kids are grown, they still want our involvement and our guidance.
What’s the point? Who you see is who you get. That’s the way Jesus interacted with his disciples. It wasn’t that He taught them different things in plain language than he said in public in the parables. It’s just that He was more intimate with them in private, ‘going deeper’ into opening their eyes to who He is. Away from the crowds, He could open up more, be more relaxed, and take the time to explain further with a loving touch instead of a rushed hand. Just like a father would.
Lord Jesus, I pray You would open up to me and teach me Your heart.
Read the rest of Mark 4.