Passage for the day: 1 Samuel 3:1-18
It’s a fascinating subject, listening. Today we are surrounded by so many methods of communicating. It’s so easy to fire off a quick e-mail or text or Facebook message. But what do we do with the communication we receive? If you’re anything like me, you skim read the message, take a brief note of it and then move on. But do we really take time to take on board what the other person is saying? I know from my own experience how easy it is to hastily read an e-mail and then think I have dealt with it, without actually doing what the other person has asked of me.
And there’s another issue. Because we all seem to be so busy we rely on leaving each other messages. But in many cases there is still no substitute for face to face meeting. Pastoral and sensitive matters are, I find, usually resolved more by talking and listening. Messages cannot convey the depths of the heart in a way that a meeting can.
There are many challenges we face as Christians in the 21st century. But one the greatest, I believe, is simply to make space and listen, to God and to each other. We don’t have to fill every waking moment filling our schedules. It is possible to stop and not feel guilty, and use that time as a special moment with God. Nor do we have to sort out all our issues by e-mail or text. It may take longer but sharing a cup of coffee and chatting can be so much more rewarding.
And as the story of Samuel shows we also need to teach our children how to listen. If we are serious about the next generation knowing God then there seems to be no greater thing we can do is to show them what listening means. And once they learn how to listen to God, then we also need to be open to what God might be saying through them!