Are you really listening?

(Photo: Unsplash/RUPAM DUTTA)

"Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking." —Bernard Baruch

A good friend of mine asked me earlier in the year if I would like to do a podcast show with her. As we discussed what it would be about, we decided to put our focus on drawing out stories from everyday people.

We called our podcast The Gold Diggers Podcast — unearthing the gold in everyday people. It has now been running since May and we are amazed at what we have learned about people in such a short time.

Basically, one of us knows who the guest is but the other doesn't and they have to interview them and draw out the gold by the end of the interview. We spend around 30-40 minutes, deliberately listening to our guests and asking questions to delve into their stories. Here are some things that we have discovered so far:

· Someone's brother had been murdered (our first podcast!)

· A male guest used to dance for the Australian ballet

· A kind and gentle mum had once been a missing person caught up and trapped as the girlfriend of the head of a bikie gang

· A dad of three survived death multiple times, breaking his back, neck, and surviving multiple bouts of cancer, and now lives to inspire others

· A family had been homeless and now opens their home to foster children

· Someone lit their car on fire and now helps that car company promote their cars

· A woman almost died from depression and alcoholism and now helps others overcome it in a big way

It is surprising to us just what 30 minutes of listening has revealed!

Jesus the listener—listen to Jesus

The Bible talks a lot about listening. There are 23 references to listening in Proverbs alone. Recently I was reading the book of Luke, and the word 'listen' almost jumped off the page in multiple places.

When Jesus was a child, He spent time in the temple courts 'sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions' (Luke chapter 2 verse 46). His understanding and answers amazed those who heard Him.

Then in Luke chapter 6 verse 27, Jesus makes a note of those who are listening:

"But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you..."

He then distinguishes the difference between hearing and listening. He knows that many people hear words but are not really listening. Those who are really listening gain wisdom.

What's your foundation?

Sometimes we think we know better and don't need to listen.

In Luke chapter 6 verses 46-49 Jesus describes what it's like for those who listen as compared to those who don't. And this is where we hear the parable of the wise and foolish builders; the foolish builders representing those who hear His words but don't put it into practice, who build on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent strikes, the house collapses. But for those who hear His words and put them into practice:

"They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built" (Luke chapter 6 verse 48).

In Luke chapter 7 verse 1, Jesus distinguishes again that He is speaking with people who are listening.

'When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum.'

In Luke chapter 9, we hear straight from God a direction to listen to Jesus:

'A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him" (v35).

It makes you stop to consider, doesn't it? Do we really listen? Or are we just hearing? I get the feeling that if we all really listened more intently to the words of Jesus, putting what He says into practice, and if we listened to the words and stories of others, then we would find some healing for those listened to, and wisdom for those who are listening, building a stronger, firmer foundation for our 'house' to be built upon.

"Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them" (Luke chapter 8 verse 18).

Republished from Christian Today UK.