SPEAK, FOR YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
What is the difference between listening and hearing? I know that we have talked before about the importance of listening versus the importance of hearing and I still believe that if we really want to be intentional about growing in our faith we have to develop a listening mentality. Now, I say all this knowing that I am a multi-tasker and I just want you to know that we are also creating a world filled with multi-taskers. But in the process of multi-tasking, we are truly losing the ability to listen. We are able to hear but the sound is really turned into noise fragments. Each of us has the ability to deconstruct the noise and allow it to reconfigure in such a way that makes cognitive sense, or we respond yeah... and let it continue down the line as something heard but not consumed.
As I grew up watching Charlie Brown, it took me a while to understand why the teacher never really said anything more than wah wah wah wah wah, and all of the kids understood what they said. And the simple answer was the fact that to them it was not important and it was just noise. Even though they could respond, they sent a very loud message out to those who were watching of what was important to listen to and what was important to hear. And I fully believe that sometimes that is exactly the same response that I get from my daughters as well on a daily basis. We have allowed all of us to get into this brand new media world
that sometimes causes us to lose hours upon hours of time that we can never regain. Instead of developing an ear that can listen, we have configured our minds to function only on what we deem as important and truly pass the other information down the line as something that really has no impact in our lives at all. I know we all fall into this category where we can hear what someone says, but really never spent the time to LISTEN for what God may be trying to say. We take the time to cover our ears and think that the still small voice can break through the barriers that we have built around our lives.
Now is the time to try and break that pattern that continues to leave us in a state of confusion. Instead of trying to go to other people and ask, what did you say? We must be willing to stop what we are doing and actively LISTEN. We must be in the same situation of preparedness that Samuel was in when he was called into the ministry. God continued to call Samuel because he was humble and ready to listen. He had already been dedicated back to God by his mother Hannah, and now he was being mentored by the Priest Eli. Samuel's story is truly a testament of a mom who was willing to sacrifice it all for the glory of God. And through her willingness to serve, Hannahs's son Samuel was able to live a life of humility in preparation for the calling of God to enter into his life. Two times he came and asked Eli what he wanted, and Eli was like, I am not calling you. See, because of the life Eli had been living, he was only going through the motions and God had been reaching out but he no longer could listen. UNTIL, Samuel came a third time and Eli realized the anointing that had been placed on Samuel's life. It was filled with servanthood and humility. It was a life that was trained not only to hear what Eli and God was saying, but continued to stretch him in such a way that he finally, the third time, listened to God and responded in a way that changed his life forever.
What are the things we may truly be missing in life because of our inability to listen? We hear the noise and allow it to pass by without taking the time to decipher the valuable story that God is trying to unfold. Yes, it means that we pause... even more than normal. Yes, it means that we have to realize that the powerful WORDS from God may show up in a song on the radio, from an email, from a voice of a friend or even the innocence of a child. God is ready to speak to us all and I fully believe that is one reason we are in this time of separation from
the noise. God is saying so much... are we taking the time to truly discern our conversations and listen? I really wish that I could say that it will be really obvious, but I also believe that is based on where our heart is with God. I think it is just like anything else in life, we must work to develop this part of our sensory skills in order for us to be able to hone in on the important teachings that we may be missing every day. We must LISTEN, and sometimes that really means that we must be quiet. It means that we stop formulating a response while the other person is talking and just sit in the moment with them. Being able to obtain this skill is rare and so valuable. It is something that is not easy but will help give us an opportunity to possibly find peace in ways we have never imagined.
If we truly want to take the next step in our spiritual journey, I believe that we have to take it by developing a lifestyle of listening. I know that you may have heard the same story from someone 15 times, and we are quick to tune them out, but maybe we need to step back and realize that there is a reason they have told the story 15 times. There is something that we are still missing and they are going to continue to tell it until we make the realization of what that message is. We have to stop thinking that our ways are ALWAYS the best ways. It may mean that we have to go in a different direction in order that others have the chance to participate and feel as if they have been heard. Finally, step back and breathe. Take a moment in any situation and say the same thing that Samuel said, "Speak for your servant is listening." Maybe we need to stop trying to find the quickest solutions to the problems and realize that God has so much more he is trying to say and teach us. But we have to stop, be humble and ready to listen, and then listen and apply what we have heard into our daily lives. It's not going to be easy. In fact ALL of us are going to have to recondition our ears in some way or another so that we can have spiritual hearing aids for God. In order that we can tune out the noise in the world and tune in the voice of the ONE who created it all.