Friday, January 13, 2012

Is Anyone Listening?

Submitted by Kerry Patton
“He who has ears, let him hear.”  Matthew 11:15

Did someone lose this?
I was at a luncheon not long ago. A friend of mine was seated across from me at the table.  During the course of our conversation, an individual walked behind my friend and stepped on something.  Even above the noise of the room full of people chatting, I heard the quiet crunch.  It caused the passerby to look down, and to her horror, she had just stepped on someone’s hearing aid!  She knelt down and picked up the pieces of the broken aid and tried to put them back together to no avail.  I commented to my friend what an expensive tragedy had just occurred behind her.  Upon seeing the broken hearing aid, she immediately checked her own ears.  She gasped!  Both of her hearing aids were gone...and apparently, at least one had been destroyed.

A brief search ensued and the other missing hearing aid was located underneath our table.  I was greatly relieved, and dismayed at the same time.  While one hearing aid had been recovered, the other would not be replaced without great expense. 

Hello…Hello?  Earth to Kerry…
I lose my hearing sometimes.  Do you?  I’m not so much speaking about a literal loss of hearing, although, even here at my mid-life, I have noticed more of a diminished ability to hear than I had a few years ago.  No, I’m talking about those times when my wife is speaking to me and my mind is somewhere else.  My hearing is fine, I’m just not listening.  I’ve noticed it happening a few times when I was actually looking straight at her.  I’m watching her mouth move and nodding my head…but nothing was getting to my brain.  When this happens, I quickly apologize and ask her to repeat her last sentence, this time focusing on the issue at hand: my conversation with my wife…or child, or a friend…because what is being said is very important to me.

Hearing and listening are not the same.
When Jesus said the words recorded above in Matthew chapter 11, he was in the middle of making some very potent statements to a crowd about recognizing the signs of the times and reacting appropriately.  The words were stinging.  John the Baptist had been in their presence declaring the coming of the Messiah, and yet few had listened.  Not only had they not heeded his words, they rejected him.  Now, the Messiah himself was in their presence.  Would they take heed to his words?  “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Hindrances to listening
In John 10:27, Jesus said: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…” An important part of listening to the voice of the Lord is being able to distinguish His voice from the many that shout at us in this world.  We have the voice of our temptations, the voice of our occupation, the voice of our financial situation, the voice of our relationships with our mate and family, and the voice of our own ambition and interests for example.  Each of these voices competes for our attention at any given moment of the day.  Often, we respond to the mêlée of these voices by opting for a voice of entertainment and distraction.  Just to get away from it all, we may turn on music and television and tune out everything else.  What are we thinking about now?  Nothing.  What are we truly hearing?  Nothing.

God’s Hearing Aid
An excellent help in trying to hear what God is saying to us is for us to open our hearts and minds to what he has already said!  The Word of God is alive and able to speak truth to us, relevant to our living in the here and now.  By reading and meditating on the ancient text, we find and our ears become attuned to the Voice of God speaking through his spirit to our hearts.

Scripture to claim: 
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”  James 1:22

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