In a world full of talking, tweeting, posting, and opinionating, the power of listening may have never been more in need. People seem to have a built-in desire to be heard and they are willing to do whatever it takes to let their thoughts and feelings be known to anyone and everyone around them. Talk, vent, explode, shout – just make sure your voice is audible above the crowd.
And then there is God. In a time when it seems His voice is so needed, in a time when we plead for Him to speak, in a time when we would love to read a blog from God Almighty himself, God seems to be silent. Quiet. Seemingly mute. If we are not careful, we can equate the silence with absence or apathy. But, God is not gone or uncaring. He does speak and is active and engaged, just not in the way we would do it. Instead of shouting over the noise, God is doing something we should take note of, He is listening.
- God heard the boy (Genesis 21:17)
- God heard their groaning (Exodus 2:24)
- God heard them (Psalms 18:6, 34:15, 61:5, 65:2, 139:1-4, and many more times in the Psalms)
Great Leaders Are Great Listeners
And Jesus was no different, He “heard” over and over again. So, what if there is an example in that for us? In a world of noise, what if the real power lies in being quiet and listening. It turns out that there really is power in listening – being quiet and attentive, seeking to understand, and showing care and compassion.
Sometimes we get so busy trying to do things and fix things that we fail to slow down and listen.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42
Jesus commended Mary for sitting still and listening, while Martha was admonished for belittling the power of listening and elevating her service.
Great leaders are great listeners. Emulate our Lord and Savior…spend some time listening to those around you who are hurting and lonely. Make listening a hallmark of your C-Group.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry – James 1:19 (NIV)
Let me encourage you to stop trying to be heard. Your good Father hears you and knows you fully! Instead, decide now to listen to your family, friends, coworkers, and anyone else God puts in your path. The C-Groups (small groups) at Zion’s River are the perfect place to listen and be heard. While you’re practicing to be a better listener, take some time in your quiet time to listen to what God is saying.
Speak less – listen more.
Hanging on His every Word,
Pastor Rob Riggan