Mark 4:21-34And [Jesus] said to them, "Is the lamp brought in to be put under a peck measure or under a bed, and not to be put on the lampstand? Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation. For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything temporarily kept secret except in order that it may be made known. If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend."
And He said to them, "Be careful what you are hearing. The measure of thought and study you give to the truth you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you--and more besides will be given to you who hear. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away by force."
We are currently doing a marriage course at church, and a recent class talked about communication. After listening to the teaching I realized how terrible I am at communication, and especially listening, to Al in particular. I have this terrible habit of zoning off into my own little world while listening to the sweet sound of his voice. The worse part is, it hurts Al's feelings deeply when I do this. Often when he realizes I am not listening, he stops talking altogether. I have been trying to be more careful to really pay attention.
Today, I talked to Al during the day, and talked with him after work, while he fixed my car, during dinner, and while he prepared for bed. It was only at almost midnight before he just left for work that he told me the thing laying heaviest on his heart. Last night Al learned that a man from work, only 44 years old, died suddenly. He was a good, honest man, Al said, and he had known him for years. I thought it was funny that he waiting until the last possible second of the day to tell me this. If it was me, I would have come out and told him right off. But Al is not like that. He had to warm up before he could speak of it.
Sometimes I think God is like that too. He wants to see if we are really listening, as we read His word, or listen to teaching, or even when we pray. Are we quiet in our souls? Are our thoughts zoning off into our own little world, as we listen to teaching, or even as we try to pray? Are we too busy doing things and planning things that all we hear is blah blah blah? And when we DO hear, do we obey? Or do we just say, "oh, that's nice," and continue on as before?
I think, like Al, God's feelings are hurt deeply when we do not listen to Him. And He stops talking to us. God longs to be partners with us, in our lives and in building His Kingdom. He wants to tell us everything and help us understand. But He cannot make us listen. That is up to us, our part of the dance we do with Him.
Father in Heaven, please help me to listen to You and to Al with more passion and purpose. It is only by Your mercy we are still on earth together! Help me enjoy our days while we have them. Help me to enjoy You too!