1 Listen to this, all you people!
Pay attention, everyone in the world!
2 High and low,
rich and poor—listen! Psalm 49:1-2
What does it take to listen? To concentrate our attention towards hearing? The psalmist goes on to speak of wisdom. He talks specifically of rich people going to the grave like everyone else, leaving their wealth behind.
Every communication has a communicator, a message, and a receiver. To listen to the psalmist’s message, we need to define “wealth” like he does. I’d bet he would say nearly all of us reading this are “wealthy.” If we define the wealth as “someone who enjoys more resources than me” have we really heard?
On Oprah, yesterday, I listened to sexually abused men, telling of ways trusted adults used them, as little boys, for the adult’s perverted pleasure. It was hard to listen. I listened because they needed to tell. Oprah mirrored compassion to them, just as I would have had they been in my office. Abuse victims first need to believe they will be believed. Unlike many of their families, they knew Oprah would believe them.
Real listening, person to person, takes concentrated effort. It takes love. It takes commitment. It takes believing that every person is “created in the image of God, of much worth and value.” That phrase is from Dianne Leman last Sunday: http://www.thevineyardchurch.us/podcast .
Who will cross our path today who needs to be listened to? Spouse, child, neighbor, grocery store clerk? To listen is to love. To love is to obey Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Holy Spirit, give us power, today, to listen.