I finished a somewhat longer article on listening, but I will wait to publish that tomorrow. This morning I wanted to lighten the mood a bit by sharing a poem I wrote a few years ago, titled Ears. I hope you enjoy and that you will join me on the journey of learning to listen.
EarsOnly ears can hear
That's just the way God made us
If ears were eyes or nose
They'd certainly betray us
But when God fashioned ears
Those humble awkward things
That flop about and wiggle
On little inner springs
He made a way to tell us
How much we'd been forgiven
And then He set and tuned them
To hear His words from Heaven
Yes only ears can hear
That's just the way God made them
Humble listening gifts
Let's certainly obey them!
Ears by Peter Caligiuri
All rights reserved
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
James 1:19 ESV
In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Matthew 26:12 ESV
Many years ago, as we sat through an average Sunday service, our pastor began to preach about the cross. First, he described the terrible beating that Jesus received and how the crown of thorns was pressed down on his head. “Next they took the nails” our pastor went on, “And they drove them through His hands….” he was suddenly interrupted by a tiny voice that pierced the silence of our congregation. “EEEW!” a little girl in the back cried out. The rest of us heard the message that morning, but I believe that in God’s eyes, she was the only person actually listening!
In our scripture passage today, it seems that just like that little girl; only Mary seemed to be listening. Jesus had told them many times that He was going to Jerusalem to die. But only Mary, understood that Jesus would not be with them much longer. Only Mary, who chose to sit at Jesus’ feet listening, did something to give Him her blessing while she still had time. Other people were celebrating and relaxing at the supper, but Mary poured out her alabaster box of perfumed oil on the Master’s feet. Everybody listens to someone. Who are you listening to today? If we want to fill the room with the fragrance of the presence of Christ, it all depends on listening at His feet and then acting on the words we hear!
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God:
for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalm 42:5 KJV
Some of my favorite memories and best life lessons come from the decades I spent working high in the treetops. This morning as I was struggling with the Winter blues and feeling overwhelmed with doubts, I remembered fighting with a heavy limb directly over my head that I was cutting while suspended sixty feet above the ground. My options were limited and the consequences of failure high, but then my foreman called up to me, “Just get mad at it Pete!” His advice got my attention just long enough so I could focus my energy on the solution and not the problem. A tree limb was not what David was struggling with in today’s verse, but his advice sounds a lot like something my old foreman would have approved of. With every reason to be afraid and a laundry list of problems facing him, David decided that the best place to begin was his own soul. He just gets mad at it! “Hope thou in God!” he cries. “Stop whining! Praising God is what your job is, so let’s get with it” (Okay maybe I stretched the Hebrew a little thin here, but you get the idea!) Sometimes we just have to read ourselves the riot act. Our soul is always looking for an easy way out of problems, but no matter our situation or how long the journey, we have to remind ourselves from time to time that God has not left the scene. He is still worthy of our praise, and able to help us. Our job is to be thankful, even if it means getting mad at the situation so we can focus again and put our trust completely in Him!
I enjoyed this recent devotional testimony from Join Eareckson Tada on how she fights off depression. Her battles are far more severe than most of us are facing and I love her idea of making a list of things to thank God for. We are all fighting the same enemy and there is nothing he hates more than hearing how great our God is. So, “Get mad at it!” if it helps. Join David in telling your soul to get with it! You just might be amazed how God will answer and come to help in ways we never dreamed!