Who is it that you listen to in your life? Who really has your attention? Who calls the shots? Maybe it is your parents, or your friends, or another relative…
The Bible says a lot about listening… Here are three reasons from the book of proverbs that we should listen up:
- None of us have made it
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice (Proverbs 12:15)
If we are wise then we understand that we haven’t ‘made it’. None of us have ‘arrived’. We are not and will never be the ‘finished article’.
‘Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence’ so said Vince Lombardi, an American football coach from the 1960s.
He understood that they would never actually get to be the perfect American Football team – there is no such thing – but that the process of aiming high would ensure they were, if not perfect, very good.
What would that process involve? Listening of course. How else could you expect to get better?
It’s the same for us, whether it be in our studies or in our sport or in how to live life… we can all do better job of listening, because none of us have made it. We all need advice.
- So you don’t look silly
To answer before listening – that is folly and shame (Proverbs 18:13)
I’m sure we’ve all been in that class, maybe we’ve even been that kid, who gets handed a sheet that we think is obvious what to do with …. And before we’ve bothered to listen to the instructions from the teacher, we’ve cut it up, or started to write on it or whatever it might be.
To answer before listening, that is folly and shame. It makes you look a bit silly! The same thing goes when we are having a disagreement with someone. If we just give our opinion without even listening to the other person, chances are we will be the ones with egg on our faces.
- To gain knowledge
Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge (Proverbs 19:27)
This one is obvious really isn’t it. Especially in school. If you don’t listen to those around you, you won’t learn. Pretty straightforward; it is wise to listen.
Jesus cares how we listen as well. He told a story about a wise and a foolish man, one who listened and the other who didn’t:
24 ‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.’
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7: 24-29)
The two men both hear the words of Jesus, but they aren’t both truly listening.
The wise man was a listener, but the foolish man wasn’t.
The wise man heard the words of Jesus and put them into practice, but the foolish man did the opposite – he heard the words of Jesus but did not put them into practice.
Jesus tells a parable to illustrate this.
The wise man is like a solid builder. He checks out the area in south Liverpool where he wants to build a house, and he chooses a lovely firm, rocky soil to bury his foundations down deep into. His house won’t budge. And sure enough when storm Gertrude or whatever it’s called comes, his house stands firm.
The foolish man was an awful builder. He chose to build his house on the sand on the banks of the Mersey! What a fool. Of course, as soon as storm Gertrude struck… the wind, waves, rain, …his house came crashing down.
The foolish person in life is the person who doesn’t listen. The wise person is the one who does.
Even more though, what Jesus is saying is that if you don’t listen to him, then you are a fool. As foolish as a man who builds a brand new house on shaky ground. But that if you do, then you are wise.
Jesus came down to earth from heaven and was God in the flesh. He taught as only God could. He loved as only God could. He healed as only God could. He lived as only God could. He was only around for about 33 years and most of his active public life occurred in the last 3 years of his life.
He taught about God and about how to know him. Thousands flocked to hear him. The gospels record that many went away sad, because they realised that Jesus wanted them to change too much. Others however went away happy because they heard Jesus words and did what he said.
Jesus was not one to mince his words. He said it plain. Maybe his words would be worth listening to after all…