God has ways of getting our attention, even people like me who can be easily distracted. So, after hearing and reading for the last three days about leadership and listening, God's got me...well, listening. He's reminding me how important listening is for me and the people I love. Whether it's my wife, my kids, the leaders at my church or some stranger who is speaking to me, everyone deserves to be heard.
I'm the leader of my church. That doesn't mean that I'm the smartest (keep your comments to yourself regarding this). It just means that I was the one who God chose to take the reigns of this organization. Since I realize that I'm not the smartest, I've got to be willing to listen and learn from those who are wiser than me. God puts these kinds of people in our lives to lead us, encourage us, challenge us and refine us. I've thought about things I have learned from Godly men who God has blessed me to know. But I've also been challenged by teenagers I've worked with, by my own kids, even by people who have no faith in God.
The Bible tells a story where God opened the mouth of a donkey to correct his owner (Numbers 22-24). That ought to tell you something about listening to...er, donkeys (you were thinking the other word, weren't you?) Listening has become a lost art in our culture. We are far too ready to speak, to state our case, to defend our ground. But, if the smartest man in the world (Solomon) was also the one in the Bible who wrote the most about listening to others (especially in Proverbs) maybe there is much we can gain from closing our mouths, opening our ears and truly hearing what others have to say. You may find you'll learn a lot more and become a little wiser in the process.
"Listening is wanting to hear." --Jim Cathcart