Do you listen to hear or do you just let the sound hit your eardrums? Is your mind on what is being said or on what you will say next? Or even worse, are you thinking about a completely different topic—what you will eat for supper, who will win the World Series, or the misbehaving kid across the street?
I, like most people, am so poor at listening—truly listening—that I miss the blessing of hearing with my heart. Yes, I listen. But often it is surface listening. I am “protecting my turf” listening—absorbed in self and not the speaker.
When I was helping Millie Young, a retired missionary, write her book, I recorded our sessions. Often I heard Millie make a seemingly off-hand comment that was profound. Yes, I physically heard it, but I did not understand until I reflected on the significance of the gem Millie had expressed. Here is one of those passages.
“During the first few years I was on the mission field, much of the success that my fellow missionaries and I had in Colombia was in the poor areas of Medellín. I believe this is a fairly universal pattern in third world countries. The conversions begin with the lower class people because they have nothing. They cannot say they do not need Jesus. So they bring a different attitude to learning about Jesus. A faith in Jesus gives them something to live for.”
This comment bounced around in my brain for several days. Could it be that the reason we do not have revival in the United States is because we think we do not need Jesus because we are so prosperous?
Are we so busy thinking about our comforts, our desires, and our things that we do not recognize our need for God?
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11:15
Are you listening?