“Some people,” Stan began, “don’t think there is a difference between hearing and listening, but I can tell you I know there is a difference.”
“Way too often,” he continued, “I hear someone talking to me, but I don’t really listen. Want proof? Just ask my wife,” he said with a smile.
“I can certainly relate to that,” I responded. “I’m always being accused of not listening. Justifiably.”
“I think,” Stan continued, “that Jesus had a ton of things to say about this, especially in one particular verse in the eighth chapter of Luke’s gospel.”
“What’s that? I asked.
“Jesus said to take care how I listen,” Stan replied. “Because of what He said right after that, I think He was talking, not about general listening, but specifically about listening to what God has for me to hear, listen to, understand, and make a part of my life with Him.”
“What did Jesus say that makes you think that?” I responded.
“He was talking about giving and taking,” Stan replied. “To me, what Jesus said is that if I listen to what He has to say, I will be given a whole lot more insight into what He has for me to know about Him and His Father.”
“On the other hand,” he continued, “if I do not listen, I am not going to grow in an ever-deepening relationship. In addition I think that even the relationship I have, or think I have, may be in danger of withering and dying for lack of listening.”
“Serious potential consequence to not listening,” I said.
“You’ve got that right, my friend,” Stan replied. “The point I think Jesus was and is making is that if I want an ever-deepening relationship with Him, I am to listen up. Not only listen, but respond in obedience to what He has to say.”
Continuing, he said, “As we have talked about many times, the whole point of eternal life on this side of eternity is to pursue knowing God the Father and His Son. I don’t know of any better way to know someone, especially God, than to choose to listen. And remember, it is a choice.”
“If,” he added, “I stop listening to what God has to tell me through His written word, as well as through the voice of the Holy Spirit, I have stepped onto a slippery slope that is likely to take me away from God.”
“Sounds to me,” I responded, “that if I stop listening I will stop learning.”
“Right again!” Stan exclaimed. “If I ever stop listening to God because I think I have heard all I need to hear, I better get ready for a crash. One will be coming, it will probably hurt, and it will be my big loss.”
Therefore take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him. Luke 8:18.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all you have to say to me through your written word and through the voice of your indwelling Holy Spirit. Thank you that you want me to listen to your voice so my relationship with and knowledge of you will increase continually. I confess that too often I do not listen to what you have for me because I choose not to listen. Please forgive me. And please help me in following your lead as you want to take me into an ever-deepening relationship with you that will come only from my listening to what you have to say. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.