Daily Devotion 09 June 2021
Luke 8:5-8 ‘Listening with the Right Ears’
5 “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. 7 Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
My father used to make the whole family laugh by waggling his ears. Try as we might none of us could copy him, and there were howls of mirth as we pulled awful faces in our frequent, always futile, attempts to do so. Imagine my delight when I discovered recently that waggling his ears is one of Robert’s accomplishments! I had another try myself, with no better results than I had in my youth, though laughter is always good for us! However I have now decided that ears are mostly for listening with, rather than for waggling!
Hearing is a gift that God gives to each of us but of course learning to use that gift to really listen is a life-long process. We can use this precious and priceless gift from God as our gift to him, our gift to one another and our gift to ourselves. It’s most important for us to recognise the great need all of us have to be listened to, to be taken seriously, to be understood. Active listening, both to other people and to God, is strenuous work and we need to learn to listen both to one another and to God.
In-depth listening to each other means far more than just keeping quiet when we are being spoken to. It involves an awareness of what’s being said in words and behind the words, hearing too what’s not being said. It’s perceiving not only with our ears, but also with our eyes; not only with our minds, but also with our hearts – forgetting about ourselves and concentrating on the other person, with a readiness to respond in whatever way God prompts us.
When we listen to God, we must let go of self and do our best to hear with understanding. As Jesus said in the passage above, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” To actively listen to the Lord is both life-giving and life-transforming but it is something we will never fully achieve, the learning curve is life-long.
We pray that we may learn to become better and more engaged listeners. There is no one who listens as attentively, compassionately and respectfully to us as you. And yet so often we come to you with lists and demands and hardly listen at all.
It’s not healing for deafness that we need but grace for listening – first and foremost to you.
Help us too, we pray, to give others – family, friends and strangers – the gift of being heard. Help us to listen in love, not only to their needs and hopes and fears but to listen to their advice and their opinions as well.
Give us the grace and patience to be good listeners we pray, so that we may show the love of Jesus to all around us.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Reflection & Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
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