His Without Reserve
Christian Life

Listening With the Heart

          Are hearing and listening the same? Carole can tell us!

          “Carole, you know I’ve got to go to the store. While I’m gone, please check on the cake in the oven. It will probably be ready to come out before I get back. Don’t forget. The Mendalls are coming over for dinner tomorrow and it’s their favorite dessert. The timer’s on.”

          From Carole’s bedroom, where she and her smart phone were engaged, came a distant “OK, Mom.” And she returned to her game and music. The signal-words “timer” and “cake” began to lose their presence in her mind. When the timer went off, its jingle had no audience. Soon a foreign odor invaded Carole’s bedroom, and she flew to the kitchen. Before she got there she knew that it was too late.

          What had happened? First, Carole had mentally filed her mother’s request under “timer” instead of “dessert–very important.” Second, she heard her mother’s words with her ears but not with her heart. If she had listened with her heart, the word “timer” would have expanded into “special dessert for friends.” She would have given the cake the same rating on the “important” scale as her mother did.

          Jesus complained to His disciples that they hadn’t listened to Him. When He taught them and the people, they were not connecting the dots. They were not in His world. They did not perceive His purposes, His mission, and make them their own. Mark reported Jesus’ words: “Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember?” (Mark 8:18).

          A few months later the disciples’ vision of Jesus’ mission had changed. Although He was gone, their vision now tracked with His. How did that happen? They had been swept up in mind-bending events that culminated in the Lord’s death, resurrection, and ascension. During the following days they gathered together (“all with one mind” [Acts 1:14, NASB]) in the upper room. What they earlier had heard from their Lord’s lips they now were re-listening to with their hearts.

          Where and how does the hearing of today’s growing Christian become listening? How does his listening become a heart tuned to Christ’s heart?

          Where? In the upper room with the Holy Spirit.

          In what frame of heart? By desiring more than anything to be on mission with Jesus.