You're Not Listening Devotional

Read This: “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Think: Listening is hard work. The truth is, we don’t have to listen to anything that doesn’t interest us very often. We live in a culture with a vast range of technology and entertainment that we can pick and choose from. Online social networks mean we can get just enough information from select friends without really having to invest a lot of time. The trouble comes when we have to deal with real people—our kids, spouses, co-workers, neighbors, you know . . . humanity.

Recently a friend of mine told me the story of a lady she met at the gym. The woman was from a different country and didn’t speak English well so it took a lot of concentration to understand what she was saying. The woman was asking my friend some basic questions about diet, nutrition, and exercise. My friend listened and answered the questions as best she could. Finally she offered to put her in touch with a trainer at the gym, but the woman explained she had already tried that and no one had the patience to talk with her. They talked for several more minutes. Before they parted ways, the woman turned and asked my friend, “Are you a Christian?” My friend was surprised by the question and replied that she was. The woman smiled and said, “I can tell. You really took the time and listened to me. Thank you.”

That’s a true story about how much it means to someone to be heard. One of the best ways to show that you truly love someone and care is to listen to them. When someone starts talking to you, they’re inviting you to walk with them, to go where they’re going, to journey with them for a short time. Maybe it’s not your first choice of conversation, maybe you’re in a hurry and you feel like you don’t have time. Stop and take the time to invest in someone else’s story, be an example of God’s love and let his light shine through you by simply listening.

We need to be ready to listen to people whenever they’re ready to talk. You might have to give up lunch at work, skip your workout, or miss your favorite show (whew . . . thank goodness for DVR). The point is, God asks us to represent him to others. And God always, always, has time to listen wholeheartedly when we are ready to talk to him. Let’s be that light in a lonely, techno driven world.

Ask: Reflect on the people God has brought into your life. How can you be a more proactive listener to each of them?

Pray: Spend time thanking God for always being a faithful listener to you. Ask him to help you love others better by listening better.