Have you ever heard of the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People?” Basically, the book teaches you how to make people feel appreciated, connected and understood. One wonderful result is that those folks also often make you also feel appreciated, connected and understood.
But how? One of the book’s hardest lessons might seem obvious: stop talking so much! That’s not always very easy. Simply put, listening is hard work. You need to be engaged, and stay engaged. You need to be ready to ponder something new. More than anything, you need a servant’s heart that embraces, “Their time is more important than my time.” Listening well has a tremendous payoff…and failure to listen leads to trouble. Here’s the Scripture verse for today: “To answer before listening – that is folly and shame (Proverbs 18:13).”
Nobody likes to talk to someone who isn’t really listening to them. Can you carry on a good conversation when, instead of listening, your “friend” is only thinking about what they’ll say next. And what about when the connection is with God, and not another human being? Then listening becomes all the more essential.
Does God have any interest in your day? Will he hold human beings accountable for their devious ways? Is God able to help your marriage? Is he capable of improving a parent-child relationship? Can he guide you peacefully through coronavirus uncertainty? Will he help you become a better listener?
The answer to all of the above is a resounding, “YES!” But it all starts with listening. So don’t ever answer without first spending plenty of time listening! Listen first to God tell you all about his feelings for you in the Bible. Then, listen to others with interest and integrity. You will be a blessing in so many ways, only God would be able to count them all.
Dear Savior, every single morning, your love is brand new. All day long, you are working for good in our world. Help us to honor your holy name above all. Come and rule in our hearts, so that we care far more about the needs of others ahead of anything we ourselves would need. Help us to be better listeners – first to you, and then to others. Give us courage to devote each day to you and you alone. It’s in your holy name that we pray, Amen.