“It is God’s love for us that he not only gives us his word but also lends us his ear. So it is his work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
In Chapter 15 (“Gather Co-Listeners”) of The Next Right Thing, Emily P. Freeman reminds us of the importance of first crafting a vision in solitude or silence. Next, find teachers or other voices able to help you implement your vision with a plan.
Yet, Emily observes, we often overlook the best teachers available to us. The author refers to such teachers as co-listeners. And, Emily quips, “they are infinitely more helpful than gaggle of gurus.”
Most noteworthy, Emily recalls, the decision itself is rarely the point. Rather, we need to become more fully ourselves in God’s presence. In the process we connect with Him as well as with each other. In addition, our lives reflect our belief in God’s goodness and beauty. Emily explains:
“I’m convinced God is less interested in where we end up that he is in who we are becoming. Whether we’re employed or unemployed, encouraged or discouraged, filled with vision or fumbling in the fog, more than anything else, our Father just wants to be with us. The most common way he shows his with-ness to us is in the actual, physical presence of other people.”
In conclusion, if you find yourself in a season of transition or facing a huge decision and you feel stuck, it’s immensely valuable to hear yourself say words in the company of people you trust.
Today’s question: How have you felt God’s love as he lends us his ear? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Standing at the crossroad of transition”