Is Listening Carefully Really Important?

As I sat during church service, I faced the pastor with my eyes fixed on him. My posture suggested that I was absorbing each word that he was saying. Suddenly I heard everybody laughing and clapping. I looked about. The pastor had apparently said something humorous, but I had no earthly idea what it might have been. From all indications I had been listening carefully, but in reality my mind was far away.

It is humanly possible to hear what is being said but not listen, to watch and not see, to be present and yet absent. In such a situation, we may miss important information meant for us. As Ezra read God's instructions to the people of Judah, "All the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law" (Nehemiah 8:3). Their attention to the explanation produced understanding,that resulted in their repentance and revival to another situation in Samaria.  Philip, after persecution of the believers broke out in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), reached out to the Samaritans people. The crowd not only observed the miraculous signs he did, but they also "paid close attention to what he said".

The mind can be like a wandering person that misses a lot of excitement close by. Nothing deserves more attention than words that help us discover the joy and wonder of our Father in heaven. The receiving of the Word consists of two parts: attention of the mind and intention of the will.

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