Daily Word of Grace # 163 (October 29, 2020)
One of the greatest gifts we can give one another is the gift of listening. Think about it. Who do you turn to when you really need help? Who are your closest friends? Who in your family do you confide in more than anyone else? Who are the people in your life you really respect? Chances are, all of them are good listeners. When you are really listened to, you feel really cared for, really understood—and yes, really loved. Listening can be difficult sometimes because most of us are distracted and trying to keep up with too many things—and most of us have bought into the myth that multitasking is somehow good for you (it’s not). You have probably experienced the difference between someone pretending to listen to you (which hurts) versus someone actually listening to you (which heals). I would estimate that nearly 80% of pastoral ministry involves really listening to people, rather than talking to them. And this is true not just in pastoral ministry but in life in general. Every relationship, every interaction, every important decision is all greatly improved by listening. Jesus was (and is) a consummate listener. Just ask the woman at the well (John 4) or the blind man he healed (John 9) or the thief who was crucified next to him (Luke 23:39-43)—Jesus listened, really listened, to all of them. Moreover, this means each and every prayer (intentional or otherwise) is effective (James 5:16) because the Risen Jesus listens—really listens—to you.
Love and Prayers,