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Listening

On Sunday mornings, I take an early bus to church. While my day is just beginning, I often see a number of people who seem to be heading home after a long night out. A couple of weeks ago, a very friendly man, possibly quite intoxicated, engaged me in conversation and wanted to know what I do for a living. So I said I was a pastor on my way to church. Sometimes, my confession shuts down the conversation, but this guy wanted to talk…and talk…and talk…

He told me about a friend who had recently become a follower of Jesus. The friend had gotten involved in a church and was pulling away from his old friends and old lifestyle. The man couldn’t understand what was going on in his friend’s life. Yet he kept assuring me that he too was a Christian and that he talks with God every day. I asked him, “How often to you listen to God?” For the first time during the bus ride, the chatty guy was silent. Finally he said, “That’s a good question.”

Listening skills tend to be a weak point for most people. We enjoy having our say and sharing our wisdom. We are polite enough to let others talk, but usually hope they finish soon so we can add our piece.

How often do you listen to God? The first step is to stop talking. Becoming comfortable with silence may take time, but we really need to cut out the noise which surrounds us. Then read some of the words we know that he has already spoken to us. Take a verse or short passage from the Bible and just let it rest inside your mind. Don’t rush, but read it over a few times and listen to what God wants you to hear. Like Samuel, our posture should be “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10)

It’s frustrating when people don’t seem really interested in what we have to say. I am sure that God must be frustrated at times as well. Why are his people not a little more attentive? As you do your daily Bible reading and offer your prayers, make sure to take few moments to be quiet and listen – really listen – to what God might want to say to you today.

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