"He said unto them…with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath" (Mark 4:24–25).
Jesus knew these words might sound strange to non-spiritual ears, so he preceded his message by saying, "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear" (Mark 4:23). Jesus was telling us, "If your heart is open to God's Spirit, you'll understand what I have to say to you."
What, exactly, is Jesus saying in this passage? He's speaking of the glory of God in our lives—that is, Christ's manifest presence. In short, the Lord measures out his glorious presence in various amounts, whether to churches or to individuals. Some don't receive any of his glory. Yet others receive an ever-increasing measure, emanating from their lives and churches in greater and greater amounts.
God has promised to pour out his Spirit on his people in these last days. Indeed, all of Scripture points to a triumphant, glory-filled church at the close of time. Jesus himself said the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. We won't be limping into heaven—beaten down, depressed, whimpering, defeated, discouraged. No—our Lord is going to bring greater power to his church. This power won't be manifested merely in signs and wonders. It will be revealed in his people—in the glorious transformation of hearts touched by God's Spirit.
How can we obtain a greater, ever-increasing measure of Christ's glory? The Lord tells us very clearly: "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you" (Mark 4:24). Jesus is saying, "According to the portion of yourself you allot to me, I'll give back to you in like portion. I'll deal with you in the manner you deal with me. Whatever measure you mete out to me, I'll mete out to you."
If you mete out to God sloth and laziness—taking for granted his great work—you'll be dealt a spirit of slumber. "Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger" (Proverbs 19:15). As a result, your soul will go hungry, unable to be satisfied.
God's love, mercy and grace toward us are boundless. The issue here isn't obtaining his love, mercy or grace—but having the blessing of his glory in our lives.
Jesus states plainly that he measures out different amounts of his glory to us, according to how we measure out our hearts to him. Our part is simply to move ever closer to him—in our worship, obedience and diligence.