Have you ever been sitting in church, listening to the preacher preach, and think, “Man, I wish brother so-and-so were here” or “Sister you-know-who should have been here today!” Well, this happens more often than one might think, and while this is a naturally occurring thought, it could develop into an every day state of mind if we are not careful!
Jesus said many times throughout the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, “He who has ears, let him hear.” This is not just some generic statement for “hey, everybody listen up”, he is calling for people to take careful heed. “He who has ears” is every person, age, ethnicity, language, and occupation. He is saying this Word is for all! The “let him hear” part is not just audible sound, but rather a person that consciously seeks the meaning of what is said, so they can have a better understanding… and begin to live it!
Sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just let things go in one ear and out the other. We must guard against that, because we will begin to think, “Yeah, I understand that… that’s for so-and-so, they need to hear it.” Let us be reminded that God’s Word is for each of us, and that means every word! Instead of worrying about what someone else needs to hear, we should be concerned with “Lord, what does this mean for me?”
God wants us to truly listen and seek understanding. It becomes easy to reject the Word we have heard, if we don’t allow it to take root in our heart and mind. There’s a difference in just being able to hear, and purposely listening with and expectation to learn.
Now, what are we doing with what we’ve heard? Does it cause us to cast judgement on others, or does it enlighten our inner man to be more conscious about our own actions? It should be the latter. The Word of God is for me, no matter who’s preaching or what someone else may have done to me this past week. When I read the Word of God it should change me by making me aware of what I have been doing wrong, whether consciously or unconsciously.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
— Hebrews 4:12
I pray, “Lord, let me reflect more on what I need to change. I have been guilty of looking at others and wanting Your Word to change them, and all the while You have been speaking to me. Forgive me. Let me see others through Your eyes and pray for them to receive Your word, and let me be reminded that I should be a living example of your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.