The Gift Of Listening, Part 3 (Leighton Ford)


Getting Out of The Way


The best writing, speaking, preaching comes from first listening – to God, to others, to our own innermost voice.


But again listening – whether to God, the other, or our own deep places – means that we have to get out of the way.


Madeleine L’Engle understood this. Here is her insight about the writer:


When the words mean even more than the writer knew they meant, then the writer has been listening … Getting out of the way and listening is not something that comes easily, either in art or in prayer.

Walking on Water 15


Jesus often spoke in John’s gospel of how he listened to his Father. “Whatever I say,” he explained, “is just what the Father has told me to say” (John 12:50). So his words were healing words that led to eternal life. His hometown people marveled at “the gracious words that came from his lips” (Luke 4:22), and wondered where they came from. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they wondered.


They had heard nothing like that from the lips of his earthly father. What they did not realize was that he was listening with perfect attention to his heavenly Father.


This was true from the time he was a boy, when his parents realized he was missing after a trip to Jerusalem. When they returned they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. When his mother questioned him he said, “Didn’t you know I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). And he was there to listen, to “get himself out of the way” so he would do his Father’s will, not his own, and seek his Father’s kingdom, not his own.


No wonder his words were the most saving and sane words the world has ever heard. He had heard them from the best source!


Is it any wonder so many of our remarks are so inane, unhelpful, even foolish because we have not “gotten out of the way.” When we are so filled with chatter from every other source we become deaf to God’s voice. And absurd! And truly irrelevant.

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