Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Listen If You Have Ears

"And Jesus added, '"Listen then, if you have ears.'" - Mark 4:9

Many times before or after Jesus would teach a lesson through parables, he would say "listen then, if you have ears." Of course we all have ears, but what Jesus means is not a listen where you just take in the noise, but a deeper comprehension of what you are listening to and then allow that message to take root. I'm involved in the Pastoral Formation Institute at my church which develops me for ministry in two years and the first course I'm taking is called Redemptive Listening. You would be amazed at how much selfishness there is in listening to others. Naturally, we tend to listen to others and try to relate it back to ourselves, or interrupt the person with comments. All this needs to be stripped away. The reason why Jesus was able to do so much good for people was because He knew how to listen. True listening involves putting yourself, your life, your own interpretation of what someone is telling you to the side, and instead looking at them in the eyes, taking in all they're saying, taking account of their body language, their gestures, their facial expressions, and putting yourself in their shoes with genuine compassion. Only then will you ever be able to understand and help someone else.

I know we all have our own problems and need to vent instead of taking in someone else's issues, but it really is in giving that we receive. We are Jesus' hands and feet…and also ears and shoulders to cry on for others. If we take care of His people, He will make sure someone else takes care of us!

Today's Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to open my ears and hearts to others. I want to serve Your sheep with the same compassion You have for them. Open my ears Lord and show me who You need me to listen to today and the next. In Your Name we pray, Amen.


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