Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Do we hear? Or do we listen?

Hear and listen are verbs we use when we refer to our sense of hearing - using our ears. But they have significant differences in meaning.

When we hear, it simply means that sounds come into our ears. Hearing is to physically experience the sense of sound. As long as one's ear and brain are capable of processing sound waves, one can hear. It may not be deliberate. We hear so many different things throughout our lives, throughout each day. When we listen, we try to hear. It involves effort and concentration. We pay attention and try to understand every sound. It is to deliberately apply the ability to hear. One who listens is thinking about what is heard, what it means, how to respond, and whether to continue to listen/pay attention.

In our spiritual life, we sometimes get too distracted. We are bombarded with all sorts of noises. We have so many things to do, so many issues to face, that our focus becomes divided. The Lord may be prompting us, talking to us, inviting us and beckoning us to sit by His side and listen to His words, just as Mary sat by His side while her sister Martha scurried about with so many things to do. Are we too concerned about things, about ourselves, to listen to Him? Have we become so task-oriented, that His voice is drowned out or ignored or inaudible? The Lord is inviting us to listen to His soothing words; words that nourish our soul; words that give us strength; words that help us grow closer to Him. Let us not waste the many opportunities God has given us to enjoy His company and presence.

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