Board work—this word would strike fear into the heart of most school children in my day. After the teacher had spent roughly thirty minutes teaching a new concept, he would write four or five problems to solve on the board and call students to the board to do their work in front of the class. The know-it-alls were eager to volunteer, but the teacher knew he had to see some other students wrestle with the problems in order to help them and more than likely several others in the class. Every now and then, one of the students selected would shuffle to the board and stare blankly at the problem. They may try to scribble some intelligible figures, however, everyone could tell they didn’t know what they were doing. Some students received gracious assistance from the teacher. Others were scolded for not paying attention.
Proverbs 13 says a lot about having your mind opened to receive instruction. There isn’t a blackboard and no classroom, but there are many people who are shamefully standing and staring at their life’s circumstances. They try to solve it somehow, but they do not know what they are doing because they did not hear instruction. A closed mind leads to a lot of disappointment.
“A wise son heareth his father’s instruction” (Proverbs 13:1).
“With the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10).
“He that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded” (Proverbs 13:13).
“He that regardeth reproof shall be honoured” (Proverbs 13:18).
Jesus taps into this need for wisdom when he taught his foundational parable in Mark 4. “And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:9). The seed of God’s word is never the problem, but the soil of our heart requires cultivation in order to receive the message. Many are closed to actually hearing, receiving the words of truth and allowing it to germinate in our life and produce fruit.
Peter contrasts obedience and disobedience. “Unto you therefore which believe (the obedient from 1:14) [Christ] is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made…a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (1 Peter 2:7-8). To what are they appointed? The disobedient are appointed to stumble because they are groping for the answer in the darkness of a closed mind. Only those who open the shutters of their mind to allow in the light of the word are hearing and obedient. It pays to be open for business.