Some things just keep going and going and going, like some sort of smelly vegetable.

Luke 8: 16-18 16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Ever peel an onion? I have and it seems like the more layers you take off the more seem to appear. Before you know it you have a pile of skins, your eyes are burning and watering and you’re not sure where to stop. That’s where I seem to find myself with these three verses from Luke.

In the first layer/verse I’m sure I’m being told to let the good stuff in me shine. It seems pretty logical that if there’s good in me why would I hide it, right? Unfortunately in the second verse it looks like if I let the good stuff out then everything is going to come out in the open. I certainly don’t want that! There’s some stuff I’d rather, you know, keep on the down low. Finally, in the last verse it looks like somehow the old saying “Them that has, gets!” is true according to Jesus. I’m left wishing I had never started peeling, regretting I ever heard of an onion and wondering what I am going to do with the wreckage. I have no choice but to keep peeling and hope it gets better.

So, on the second reading, my light doesn’t apparently have to shine for everyone, just those that come into my room. That’s good for me because I’m a little uncomfortable really professing all the stuff I believe or think or hold close to my heart. I’m not really okay putting myself out there so much. In the second verse it looks like that’s just fine, you know, that I’m a little hesitant because everything (in this case the good stuff) is going to be known anyway. It’s really not necessarily up to me because if I believe the second verse, my goodness will come out in the end no matter how little or how much I do. Lastly, it looks like assuming I have a lot, I have nothing to worry about. I’m going to be blessed.

But here’s the kicker. Jesus said consider carefully how you listen, not if you listen but how. It looks like the Son of God is saying this whole listening thing is tricky. It looks like he’s telling us to watch how we decode the messages of this world. I’m afraid he’s telling me that if I don’t watch how I interpret things I could end up an arrogant braggart who’s smug in his piety and self-assured that he’s got it made. Or, I could end up a timid wimp, afraid of being noticed, trying to make myself invisible who’s going to lose everything in the end anyway.

Maybe what I need is someone to make sense of all this. Maybe what I need is someone to follow, someone to show me the way, someone that will help me avoid the pitfalls that appear to be everywhere. Maybe my best bet is the guy that handed me the onion in the first place.

What do you struggle with most trying to make your way in the world? Are you able to use what’s in the Bible to interpret what you’re feeling, seeing and experiencing? How do you do it? Leave a comment below and help a guy out.

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