January 8, 2017
“Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”
I studied theology at Asbury Theological Seminary. I took 96 credit hours of really strong course material from some of the finest professors in the world. I learned a lot about the bible, theology, discipleship, church history, evangelism, worship, preaching, spiritual formation, and so on. My Greek teachers might wince when I say this, but I think the most important course I took was not part of the curriculum. It lasted only a weekend, but it set me on a life-long course of developing the most significant gift I can give to the world. The short extra-curricular workshop was called, “Listening for Heaven’s Sake.” It was there that I began the long journey of learning to listen. I had been told many times prior to then that I should be a better listener. The problem is no-one ever taught me how. It must be learned.
I am here to listen. Almost twenty-five years later I am still coming to grips with this most fundamental aspect of my life and work. I am here to listen. Our calling is to listen. We listen to God. We listen to one another. We listen to the cries of the oppressed. We listen to children. We listen to those no-one else listens to. We are here to listen.
Wisdom begins with listening. It’s all over the Proverbs. Go back and count the number of times it appears in the short span of today’s text.
I’ll close with a very practical piece of advice. It can be implemented immediately and almost constantly. It is the square one we must keep coming back to again and again and again. There is infinitely more to learn than what I am about to say, all of which will remain unlearned until we learn this first step.
Wait for it. . .
Abba Father, you are the God who speaks. Everything you say is worthy of our most intentioned listening. Humble us to learn the way of listening. Teach us to listen. Grace us with the Holy Spirit’s help to become listeners to your Son. Help us find the humility to stop talking. Show us a way of listening that is love. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
1. Why do people not listen?
2. Do a listening audit today. Pay attention to the listening habits (or lack thereof) of others. Note what you would want to emulate and avoid.
3. How might I become a listener? I am here to listen. Right? What will that mean today?
Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.