In desperation the man cried out. Unable to move closer to Jesus he simply exerted from every bit of breath within him a cry that would sound out over the crowd “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.” No reply. That would not stop him, with every last ounce of him he would continue to call… “Jesus, son of David, Have mercy on me.” People were getting frustrated. All around him there were looks of disgust cast in his direction. Oh he knew how they felt about him, they were embarrassed, angered, and just wanted him to disappear, so they began telling him off. He would not give up. “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped. He called for the man to be brought to him. Jesus listened, and then he healed. (Luke 18:35-42)
Frustration, exasperation, is there anything worse than that shout within you “you are not listening to me!” This story about the blind man receiving his sight pulls me back to the reality that being heard and being listened to are two very different things. This blind man was crying out in desperate need for help and while people heard noise, Jesus, unlike the others, stopped and listened to what he had to say. For communication to be effective it needs to have two parties involved but unfortunately, through busyness, disinterest, pride or absent-mindedness we are all guilty of not listening to someone at some point; whether it be to your parents, your spouse, your children, a person crying out for help, or to God. Whether or not you agree with what someone has to say it is worthwhile taking the time to properly hear them out; not only because we all have a need to be heard, but also because you never know through whom God is speaking. God can use a child to speak to you, he can use a non-Christian, a mature Christian or somebody you don’t even like, the question is, are you listening?
When was the last time you consciously put down what you were doing and truly listened with all your attention when someone was speaking to you? (without thinking about what you are going to say next)
When was the last time you sought out someone who felt they needed to be heard and made the effort?
When was the last time you listened to God with all your attention, with the intention to obey?
Take the challenge today. Don’t just hear, but stop and listen.
Jesus said “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16