After telling the parable of the sower and the seeds Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (Mark 4:9, NIV).
In different contexts, He makes similar statements emphasizing the same message:
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22).
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 2:19).
There are other topics mentioned more in the Scriptures, but I don’t believe any are as important as this one.
Listen and hear.
When parents are communicating important information to their children, it is sometimes necessary to say, “Listen to me”!
Instructors may say to their students, “Listen to this. You may see it on the exam”.
Preachers may say to their congregation, “Are you listening to me? This is important”.
Husbands and wives may say to one another, “I need you to listen to me”.
The fact is, we hear countless things going on at any given moment. Try it. Try to just listen. Close your eyes, sit still, and just listen. What do you hear?
What I hear is music playing. I hear water churning in the washer and clothes tumbling in the dryer downstairs. I hear a truck rumbling as it makes its way slowly down the street. I hear so many things that I most likely would not have had I not taken the time to listen.
It is understandable. There are so many sounds infiltrating our immediate environment at any given moment that we simply become numb to them. No wonder Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” And more specifically “Hear what the Spirit says.” His desire is not simply to hear the words and the sounds, but to absorb what is being said.
James’ admonition is not to just listen to the words, but to really hear the person who is speaking. Be quick to listen, instead of preparing what you will say when given the first opportunity.
In order to really get His message, we need to both listen and hear, focus our attention on what is being said, let it sink in, and absorb the message into our daily lives.
In order to do a good job in our profession, we much not only listen to what is being said by our boss and co-workers, we must hear what is being said and apply it.
To have a deeper level of communication with the important people in our lives, we not only need to listen to them talking, but hear what they are saying. Hear their words, their tone, their emotion, and their heart.
To truly understand what is going on in the lives of our children, we must listen- sometimes more to what is not being said than to what is. We must listen intently, even if they have not learned how to fully express what they want to say. And we must hear them.
During one of the seasons of the television series Parenthood, Camille and Zeek Braverman were having problems connecting with each other. Their counselor encouraged them to practice acknowledging when they were really hearing each other. The phrase: “I hear you and I see you” became an underlying theme for several episodes of the show, and I suspect a common phrase in the conversations of many fans of the show.
“I hear you and I see you.” I am focused on you. I am connected with you. I am in tune with what you are saying and how you are feeling.
It is important that we learn to listen and hear one another in all of our relationships. If the sounds around you are distracting you, find a way to focus in on what you really need to…which is the person who really needs you to.
Jesus was not just talking for the sake of hearing Himself speak. His words have meaning and the power to transform your relationships, with Him and with the people you love.
So listen and hear!
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.