I recently attended a conference along with 1400 other people where Christian author and social critic, Os Guinness, spoke. Although I was just one of many in attendance that day, it was as if he was speaking to me. He said, “In America today, everybody’s speaking and hardly anyone is listening. Focused attention is rarer than gold in America today.”
A few days later, I read these words from one of my Christian heroes, Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Just as the love of God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.
He who can no longer listen to His brother will soon be no longer listening to God either. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life. Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother – but only for himself and for his own follies.
I’m pretty sure the Lord is asking me if I’m listening – to Him and to others. Is He asking you the same?