As Christians of course we would say we always listen to Jesus. But what did he say to you? What have you done about it? The answer too often is: I was too busy / he didn’t speak clearly / I didn’t like what he said.
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Mark 10:17-22)
It’s not about the money. If you were to sell everything you have and give to the poor, it may not be the test for you that it was for that young man. The point is – he held something in higher esteem than God.
In the film Dead Poets Society, new English teacher Robin Williams runs a very unorthodox lesson, and he finishes by telling the boys Carpe diem - seize the day. Like the boys who thought English was only taught one way, God can speak in ways we understand. The important thing is for us to listen.
Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams. Are you listening to this? Really listening? (Mark 4:3-9 The Message)
If you read Jesus’ explanation which follows, you will see that the seed was all good seed. The difference in the crop was the condition of the soil. God’s word is good. What Jesus has to say to each of us is good. But how receptive are you?
Are you really listening?
Who are you listening to?
When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. (Mark 6:20)
Herod was disturbed but he liked to listen to him. He was entertained but he didn’t do anything about it.
Where are you listening?
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. (Mark 7:14)
Jesus gathered the crowd around him so they could concentrate on what he said.
We need to listen to Jesus
Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7)
God says ‘Listen to him’. Our lives are full of distractions. We need to concentrate.
We are enabled to listen to him!
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15: 34)
He was disconnected from God so that we can be reconnected. In recent news a plane was disconnected from air traffic control, went off the planned route and was lost. We have become disconnected from God and gone off the intended route and are in danger of being lost.
Are you listening?
[From a sermon by Pete Orphan 30/3/14]