Are You Listening

Two ears, two eyes and one mouth! There appears to be a message; listening seems to be more important than talking. What a rare concept! It seems downright divine; however it is extremely rare and hard to learn.

The White House surely isn’t listening; there’s an agenda there that is heedless of the consequences. And, there are always consequences! Politicians have never been known for listening and there seem to be politicians in government, at work, at home and even at church; only their occupations are different. They all seem to have agendas and think they’re smarter than everybody else.

They butt right in when other people are talking. Really! Right in mid-sentence! Advice! Reproof! (Especially reproof!) Who is it that is conceited enough to tell ME anything? About morality, about rearing children, about how to worship God, about smoking (or any other drug), about money management, certainly not about right and wrong! Somehow each generation thinks it’s light years ahead of the one just before. Those ancient and stupid parents and founding fathers! Those old, out-of-touch preachers and “old people;” they really didn’t know how to have church till we got here.

How many dads have wished with anguish that they had listened to their sons when they were young, but dad was too busy with more important thinks like work, sports, reading the newspaper and TV? How many sons have grown up and wished to God that they would have listened to dad? Yes, a dad that is now in the grave! How many parents have wished they had listened to their parents? And, we could talk about work places, friendships, churches and pastors and even governments that should have been listening. But!

God is pretty smart. He said, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee”(Exodus 20:12). “Honour” Give weight, put value, esteem, it’s important! Natural parents; yes! Fathers in the faith too! There’s wisdom in the ages. The people who wrote our constitution weren’t dummies. It should be noted that ALL of the 10 Commandments (including this one) are just that; commandments, not suggestions. It’s also pretty important to remember that this is the “first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2). Those families (churches, nations) which intend to survive had better listen to the old folks. Old Testament Rehoboam (1 Kings 12) is a classic Bible example of one who didn’t listen. He was young and full of himself. He surrounded himself with people just like him. They told him to change, change, change. Don’t listen to those old men. You’re in charge now. This is a young people’s world. So, Rehoboam cheated himself of the great wisdom of his own father, Solomon. He did it his way. He didn’t listen! The price was enormous; for him personally, for all around him, even for the innocent victims and families that were mangled because of him.

Take a walk through Yad Vashim, the holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The German people and the world should have been listening. Spend a little time in a drug rehabilitation center and you will witness the consequences of closed ears and eyes. Look into the face of that person standing on the corner at the red light. Many of them (not all) were the rebellious kids who knew everything and didn’t want to listen to mother or daddy or the preacher who tried to warn them of the consequences of riotous living. Shall I speak of divorced and mangled families, gasping and fragmented churches, shattered dreams and devastated lives and the endless stories of addicts and overdoses?“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction” (Proverbs 13:18). That’s still true. “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die” (Proverbs 15:10).

The truckers used to say, Hey good buddy, you got your ears on? Good question! Very few do. So the misery and carnage continue! Strangely nobody seems to think he’s not listening. Somehow it always seems to be the other person who should listen. Hum! Strange indeed!

Listening! What a good thing to do! Everything you hear won’t help; more than you think will. Just eat the chicken and throw away the bones. However, don’t assume that it’s all bones before you think it through. Listen with your ears but listen with your eyes. Read the language. And the body language! Listen to the white heads in your life. Pay attention to the people who have been there and done that. Listen to the one around you. Glean from those who have gone before; many of them left books. Just listening can save you lots and lots of grief, not to mention those around you.

God says listen. It’s pretty hard to say you are listening to God when you don’t listen.