Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Hearing … and listening – they are different. We hear all the time. A sound wave hits your ear; your brain processes the wave into noise – even when we aren’t thinking about it. Listening, however, is entirely different. Listening is “giving your attention to the noise you hear.” It’s a conscious decision to listen. 

One of the themes of God’s word this time of year is “listening” … versus simply “hearing” and then moving on. A good example is Jonah in the Old Testament. Jonah heard God tell him, “Go to Ninevah and tell them how evil they are!” Jonah knew God wanted Israel’s evil enemies to know Him so He could save them. But rather than listen to God and go, Jonah fled from God – right into the whale’s belly. (Jonah 1)

So, God spoke to Jonah again saying, “I’m serious! Go to Ninevah and tell them how evil they are!” This time Jonah … listened. Jonah paid attention to God and did what God told him to do. And what do you know?! Ninevah turned from its evil and God saved them. (Jonah 3) Because Jonah listened, God spared the lives of over 120,000 people. Listening is important!

Thankfully people like Peter and Andrew, James and John listened when God called them to follow Him and become “fishers of men.” (Mark 1:16-20) Because they listened to Jesus, today the word of God is heard all around the world – including in our own ears. But here’s the question … are we just hearing – like Jonah … or are we also listening – like those first apostles Jesus called?

If we’re just hearing, know this – God is relentless, and He’ll keep speaking to us by the power of the Holy Spirit speaking through those who have listened. I pray you’ll turn from being a hearer of God to a listener. And if you are listening, I pray you then take the next step and become a doer of God’s word. That others may also come to faith, repent, and be saved.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Jim