Listen To Me
30 October 2016
Reading: Job 21; Mark 5-6
1 Then Job spoke again: 2 “Listen closely to what I am saying. You can console me by listening to me.” (Job 21:1-2 NLT)
Every time Job tried to speak to his friends about his pain, his fears, his loss, and his grief, he got criticism, snap judgments, and simplistic answers to his unanswerable questions. He hardly had time to get the words out of his mouth before one or the other of them jumped in to judge him!
Job’s pain was real! He was confused. His heart was broken. He was grieving the deaths of his children and the loss of everything he had worked for all his life! And every time he tried to tell his friends how much it hurt, they had another criticism, judgment, or simplistic answer for him. What kind of friends are these?
Never underestimate the comforting effect of a caring, listening friend! I have a friend who always has time to listen to me. He listens to my questions and uncertainties, he listens to my complaints and confusions, and he even listens to my bright ideas. My friend and I don’t always agree, and he doesn’t always have an answer to my questions, but he listens to me!
I’ve had some notable experiences of listening to other people. When I meet with pastors who live and serve in small churches in out-of-the-way places, sometimes the best ministry I can offer them is to listen for an hour or so. I remember a time when Jean and I were sitting with a pastor and his wife, listening to their story of faithful, but not outwardly “successful”, ministry in a little Oregon town. As we listened I felt the Spirit of God whisper to me, “There’s no place on earth more important for you to be right now! Just listen to them!”
So with this reminder from Job’s heart-cry for someone to listen—just listen—I’m going to speak a little less and listen a little more. Who will you listen to today?
Father, Thanks for the friends who listen to me when I need to talk. Thanks for listening to me when I pray to you in need or confusion or pain or gratitude. Thanks for the opportunities you give me to listen to others. Help me to do better with that, especially with listening to Jean. Amen.