Listening


The noise was deafening! In response to its ad for a radio operator, many applicants crowded the small office of a shipping company. While waiting for their turn, they chatted so excitedly. Their combined voices were so loud that they had to speak louder to hear each other. They could hardly hear the loud speaker of the paging system in the office.

One applicant came in and sat quietly in a corner. Suddenly, he stood up and entered a door with a “No Entry” sign. After a few minutes, he came out smiling. He got the job. The others protested. “What happened? How come you got hired that easily?” He answered, “All of us are qualified for the job. Again and again, the loud speaker played a Morse code signal. The message goes like this: ‘We are looking for somebody who would always be alert. If you hear this, come to the office with the ‘No Entry’ sign ASAP.’ You were not listening at all.” [1]

Nowadays, we hear a lot of “voices” demanding for our ears. We live in a distracted, multi-tasking world. We have more than a hundred cable channels vying for our attention. There are times we can’t drive even for a short distance without turning on the radio. Now, with Facebook, Twitter and all those social networking sites over the Internet, our attention span became shorter than ever. According to Ted Selker, “an expert in the online equivalent of body language” from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “If we spend our time flitting from one thing to another on the web, we can get into a habit of not concentrating… So instead of focusing on one thing and getting the most out of it, I find myself getting bored quickly because I know there are so many more things out there to go to.” [2]

That’s why we also tend to miss out on God’s “still, small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12, NKJV) We read our Bible. We go to church. We read books. We subscribe to sermon podcasts… and still we couldn’t hear His whisper. Are we really listening at all?

James 1:21-22 explains why we have such short attention span as far as God’s Word is concerned. “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness…” (ESV) Is there a sin that blocks our spiritual ears? (By the way, the Greek for “filthiness” means “earwax.”) “…and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” Is pride keeping us from receiving His commands and corrections? “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Do we really listen with the intent to obey?

Brethren, let us pray, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” (1 Samuel 3:10)

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