Whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance. Mt. 13:12

Whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance. Matthew 13:12Whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance. Mt. 13:12

This scripture used to be really confusing to me. Not because of the way that it starts, I really like the way it begins. ‘Whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance.’ Matthew 13:12 That sounds like a pretty great deal. But the entire verse is much more peculiar:

For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. – Matthew 13:12

Do you see what I mean? The verse starts off with this great news that God’s going to give those who have even more. The choir does a little shouting in the background, and people start waving handkerchiefs.  That’s awesome!

But then… Jesus gives us one of His famous ‘out of left field’ points by following up that line with this lead balloon. Whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.’

Ouch! The party’s over, and someone in the back row is shaking their head and thinking to themselves… “Not cool Jesus.  Not cool at all.”It’s almost stealing shoes from a homeless person.

Why is Jesus going to take away from the guy who doesn’t have anything. It’s almost stealing shoes from a homeless person. Pretty cold, right?

Not if you read this verse in context. Jesus isn’t talking about money and possessions right here. He had just finished teaching the parable about the talents, and that causes a lot of people to assume that He is still teaching about finances, but there are several verses in between that put Matthew 13:12 in context.

Let’s back up and read Matthew 13:9-11

9 He who has ears, let him hear.” 10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

Then He follows it up with this:

13 This is why I speak to them in parables:  “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:  “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;  they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

He who has ears, let him hear.

Jesus last statement before he began this explanation said, ‘he who has ears, let him hear.’ When his disciples followed that up by asking why he was teaching everyone using stories and analogies, Jesus told them in verse 11 that they had been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but not everyone else was.Whenever someone is willing to listen to what God is speaking, they will receive understanding, knowledge, and wisdom.

Some people are willing to listen, they have an ear to hear; and some people are not, they do not have an ear to hear. Whenever someone is willing to listen to what God is speaking, they will receive understanding, knowledge, and wisdom.

I think this is what Jesus was talking about when He said ‘whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have an abundance.’ When we seek God and are willing to listen to His instruction, He will give us more instruction, more wisdom, more revelation, and we will have an abundance.When we close our ears to the voice and guidance of God, we slowly lose our ability to hear Him at all.

That’s why the second half of this verse doesn’t mean that Jesus is stealing shoes from homeless people. ‘Whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.’ When we close our ears to the voice and guidance of God, we slowly lose our ability to hear Him at all.

So here’s the question today. Are you listening? Are you willing to listen? Perhaps more importantly, are you listening to the words behind the words to what God is trying to communicate to you?

Listening to God is one of the most challenging and rewarding endeavors you’ll ever embark on. You’ll be built up, cut down, restructured, and then disassembled again. What you’ll find though is that your life will filled with an abundance of all that God is, and that is an extraordinary life indeed.

Father, give us ears to hear You today and everyday.

About the Author

Jeremy BinnsWhen I'm not trying to save the world from the coming zombie invasion, I love my wife, hug my daughters, write, photograph, listen, observe, explore, and worship.View all posts by Jeremy Binns →

  • Sayo

    Thank you so so much for this, I was definitely one of those thinking not cool Jesus but knowing how merciful and loving He is I knew he would not “steal shoes from a homeless person :-D and so I searched for an explanation for this verse and this site came up. Wonderful explanation.

    • http://www.jeremybinns.com/ Jeremy Binns

      Hi Sayo – Thanks!

  • Al Schirduan

    I agree, but I will add that even a person who does well with money will find it easier to make much more money. Hence the saying, “It takes money to make money.” But a person who has little money and doesn’t handle his money well, will likely loose what little he has. The money that he “looses” or spends unwisely will become profit for the person who handles it well. Of course the more important application for Jesus’ words goes to spiritual understanding and living. The more we seek and apply Gods truths to our lives the more we understand and develop the discipline to align our thoughts and behavior with his godly principles. This produces greater joy and success in our marriages, children, relationships and personal well being. It becomes a geometric increase in blessings, while a person trying to live in the world and continuing to get caught in sin often leaves broken lives and relationships and never seems to find the personal contentment or a fulfilling relationship with our Lord. It is not God taking anything away, in a real sense it is the person doing it to themself.

    • http://www.jeremybinns.com/ Jeremy Binns

      Hi Al,
      Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. I agree with you here. There’s a principal of stewardship with all that God gives us that definitely produces more when we do our best with what we’re given, while carelessness always diminishes ‘what we have’.
      ~blessings

  • maria

    “Use it or lose it,”

  • Ade

    Awesome!

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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