Quick is a word we don’t usually associate with listening. Quick-tempered is an adjective, and we all know people who are always quick to say something. But a quick listener, not so much. Maybe because listening seems to have a passive element to it. You just sit there without moving a muscle and the sound waves hit your ear. How can that be quick?
But notice that it’s not hearing we are talking about here. Hearing is something that just happens to us from outside…we hear noises, we hear a voice. It’s a biological reaction…sound waves hitting the old ear drum. It’s not hearing we’re after here…it’s listening that we need to be quick at. Listening involves effort, it involves paying attention, it involves caring about what is being heard.
James, in the first chapter of his letter writes; “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger…” What would change in your life if you were a quick listener…an attentive listener? If you had listening skills that would allow you to always pick up not only the words but the meaning of the words people spoke to you?
I think I would be a better listener if I wasn’t thinking about what I wanted to say next. Because I am quick to speak, I often don’t have the space I need to be a quick listener. What is God trying to teach me here? If you listen you’ll hear more about this on Sunday.
This week’s prayer: God, you fill the world with listening possibilities every day. Help us realize our listening potential!