6th December 2013

A Time To Listen 

Listen to what I am saying; that is all the comfort I ask from you.
Job 21:2 (GNB)

Have you ever wanted someone to listen to you? Instead, what happens is that others talk over you, or interrupt, or change the subject, or get distracted as you speak, or their attention span wanes?

Job needed help. His whole world had collapsed around him. Those he knew most, and who had known him for years, his close friends, wanted to help on their own terms. What mattered to them is that Job listened to them, not that they listened to him and his story.

We can all do similar things at times. We think people need to hear our point of view more than we need to hear theirs. It is as if our story is more important than someone else’s. It’s an act of love to focus on what someone else has to say, to create the space where others are safe to express how they feel and what they think.

We all need to listen more, even the high and mighty among us. Classical scholar Peter Jones records how an emperor learned a lesson: “On one occasion Hadrian (of Hadrian’s wall) was on his travels abroad when a woman came up to him, took hold of his toga, and demanded to be heard. Hadrian shook her off, saying he was too busy. She shouted, ‘In that case, you shouldn’t be emperor!’ Hadrian stopped and listened” (Quoted from Veni Vidi Vici: everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask by Peter Jones and published in 2013 by Atlantic Books). Is any of us really too busy to listen?

God desires us to pray so he can listen to what we have to say even though he knows already what is on our minds. He is attentive to the cries of his saints in distress (Revelation 6:9-10; 8:4). When Mary was disturbed about Gabriel’s announcement to her, Gabriel listened to her, and reassured her that her son would “be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:26-38). Jesus would stop and listen to those in need as he travelled from place to place. Even when he was in agony on the cross, Jesus listened to and comforted the thief who was suffering next to him.

Let’s listen to others. As Job said, sometimes that is all the comfort they ask of us.

Father, help me to listen to what others have to say, to pay attention to their words with interest, and not to focus on myself as I listen to them. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson


bible2About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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