In explanation of this statement, our Lord reiterates His favorite saying: "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance." His disciples had already given heed to His words. On the thin soil of their hearts the precious seed had already begun to germinate: and as it throve, it prepared the way for more and more to follow.
In the case of the crowds that pressed around Him, however, there was no such earnest giving heed. They were content with the interest, the beauty and grace, of His nature-teaching, without a thought of its deeper aspects. Hearing, they did not understand; seeing, they did not perceive; face to face with Incarnate Truth, they thought only that He had a pleasant voice, and could play skillfully on the harp.
First, Understand what you hear. Do not be content to have a merely intellectual appreciation of its force or beauty; but open your heart to meditate and ponder it. It is only thus that truth really strikes its roots into the soul, and defies the birds.
Second, Beware of the response of mere emotion. Too many of these receive the word with joy. Their expressions of interest and pleasure are loud and emphatic. Tears course down their cheeks. You think them most hopeful. But it passes like the sunshine and cloud of an April day.
Third, Guard against cares and worldly success. The first, of the poor; the second, of the rich. There is not room in the heart, or nutrition in the soul, for the absorbing pursuit of both earth and heaven, of time and eternity.
Fourth, Practice what you hear. Remember that not the hearers of the word, but the doers of the work, are blessed.