Listening is a muscle. If not purposefully exercised, it will atrophy. That’s why Jesus commanded his disciples to pay close attention to how they listen. It was the bottom line of his now infamous parable of the sower—a farmer’s yield is directly related to the type of soil the seed lands upon (Luke 8:5-8). Seed on a path produces nothing, while seed in rich soil flourishes. The experiential truth of that story in their agrarian society was obvious. But they were perplexed by its deeper meaning. “The seed is the Word of God,” Jesus explained to his disciples (Luke 8:11) and, like a lamp on a stand, it illuminates and discloses truth that would otherwise remain hidden to whose heart is not inclined to receive it (Luke 8:16-17). That Jesus expected his followers to exercise their listening muscle was evident by his response to Peter’s request to explain another parable: “Are you still so dull?” (Matt 15:16). As a professed life-long learner and follower of Christ, that question pierces me today and makes me ponder how much my insight has atrophied because I’ve grown dull.
Your thoughts? How’s your exercise program going in this area?