By Roger Kruse
Not many people are good listeners. We prefer to hear the sound of our own voice. Not many people are good listeners We prefer to hear the sound of our own voice. We talk about ourselves with great fervor, Not many people are good listeners. We prefer to hear the sound of our own voice. We talk about ourselves with great fervor, describing our experiences, adventures, preferences, and problems. Some folks are excellent story tellers. They either have really good memories or know how to embellish details to create an interesting tale! How would you describe yourself? Do you talk more than you listen? When someone else is speaking, do you really listen or are you actually contemplating your next contribution to the conversation? God gave each of us one mouth and two ears. Maybe we should remember that. The Bible tells us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak.”
Good listening is actually a learned skill. It begins with asking good questions and taking a real interest in other people’s lives. It is an act of unselfishness. Your willingness to focus on someone else is a gift to them. Your effort to find out what makes them tick communicates love and caring. It is also a great way to make new friends. My wife and I often find ourselves on the listening end of conversations these days. We enjoy getting to know people at a deeper level and building bridges of friendship. It is amazing how quickly some individuals open up and begin sharing very personal details about their lives. Your questions and careful listening can pave the way for a relational connection that nurtures. It allows us to “carry one another’s burdens” and even support each other in prayer.
Jesus Himself took time to listen to what people were saying. He knew that words can be a window into the heart. The words we hear take us deeper and tell us more about the other person. Communication becomes more authentic and relationships grow stronger.
That being said, sometimes lighter conversations are OK, too. We don’t always have the time or the inclination to have a long conversation. As a result, we sometimes play “dodge ‘em” at the grocery store. After all, we need to just keep moving. Occasionally we encounter people who dominate a conversation to the point of boredom. After a while, we begin to lose interest and plot our escape. Some folks just can’t see beyond their own nose. At any rate, being a good listener is worth the frustration of such encounters.
Jesus also exhorted His listeners to hear what He had to say. Jesus said to “consider carefully how you listen.” In addition, the Lord said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” In other words, when Jesus talks, we need to listen. Peter, one of the first disciples, wisely understood the significance of listening to Jesus. When given the opportunity to turn away and stop following Jesus, Peter said, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened intently to His words. Her sister Martha got irritated because Mary wasn’t helping get things ready in the kitchen. Jesus helped Martha to understand that Mary’s choice was, in fact, the best. She had the special opportunity to soak in the words of the Lord and she wasn’t going to miss it!
Are you regularly listening to the words of Jesus? The words He speaks to us are “spirit and they are life.” They represent essential “soul food” that you need in order to grow your spiritual life. After all, “Faith comes from hearing the message of the Good News through the word of Christ.” Why not prioritize time each day to let God’s Word speak to you? Come with a willing spirit to hear the Lord speak to you. When you really listen to Jesus, you will never be the same.
Roger Kruse has been learning to listen to Jesus for 49 years. His eternal words are a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”