Are You Listening?

By Ryan Dawson

Are you listening to me?  We have all been in conversations where we knew the person we were talking with wasn’t really listening to us.  This is frustrating, isn’t it?  The ability to listen well is a critical component for any relationship to grow and thrive.  This is true for all our relationships, including our relationship with Jesus Christ.  So often when Jesus was teaching, he would say: “if you have ears to hear”, meaning “if you really listen to me and apply what you hear, things will be different in a good way”.  We need to listen to Jesus if we want to follow Him.  

This makes me think of a passage in Mark 4 where we see the importance of listening.  Jesus is teaching the Parable of the Sower, where he uses the image of the farmer sowing grain by scattering it on the ground.  Some of the seeds fall on the hard ground, some on the rocky soil, and some on the freshly tilled soil, resulting in a different yield.  Jesus is explaining the parable to his disciples and connecting the lesson to the words of God.  

“Then [Jesus] added, ‘Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given —and you will receive even more. 25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.’”  Mark 4:24-25

Jesus uses the word “listen” three times in his short response, to highlight the importance of listening as disciples.  Jesus is explaining that there is a progression in our understanding as we listen and apply what God is saying to us in the present moment.  Understanding and wisdom grows like rings on a tree as we take what we hear and respond in obedience.  Each successive hearing and responding in obedience builds on the subsequent hearing and application of God’s word.  This is why it is so important to tune our ears to God’s still small voice on a continual basis.  

A few verses earlier Jesus spoke of the return on our listening… “those who hear and accept God’s word produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much has been planted.” Mark 4:20   We often view the Parable of the Sower in light of people coming to Christ, but this parable is as much, if not more, about growing as a faithful disciple of Jesus.  

So, the question for us is “Are we listening?”  “Have we tuned our ears to hear and receive the words of God in our life?”  “Are we willing to listen and follow God even when it is hard to do so?  “Are we standing on the promises of God?”  

I sensed God saying to me through this passage: “My son Ryan…continue to tune your ear to my words and do not lose heart.  As I have spoken, I will accomplish in my timing and in my way.  My words over Sequoia, your life, and your family will be fulfilled.  Continue to trust me even when it doesn’t make sense.  I am working and I will produce the crop in you and through you, and it will be immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine.”  

I believe this word is also for you today.  God will accomplish His purposes in your life as you trust Him.  God’s word over you, your life, and your family is sure and true, and you can trust Him.  God’s word is the anchor to our faith and the source of all life and blessing.  Continue to make time to listen and respond to our Good King.  Tune your ears to hear and receive, and God will produce an abundant harvest in and through you, for your good and His glory.

For Christ and His Kingdom, Ryan

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