“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”Psalm 10:17
There is a woman in my church who has a remarkable effect on people. By the end of the service, there is often a small group of people surrounding her. She’s not a part of our church leadership, does not teach, and holds no authority. Yet people flock to her. In fact, when she audits college classes I teach, she has the same effect on my students, listening intently to them and expressing concern for their well-being. People enjoy being with her because she listens, encourages, and truly cares.
The “ministry” of listening—small and unassuming as it is—impacts people a great deal. Of course “ministry” refers to preaching, leading in Bible study, designing worship time, and so on. But being a good listener gives ministry back to us. We may not all be great orators, but we can all listen.
In the oldest book of the Bible, Job’s friends came to him at his time of immense suffering. They cried and mourned with him in his grief. They sat and listened, which turned out to be the very best way they could have ministered to him.
When you read Psalm 116:2, think of a parent tenderly stooping to hear a child’s voice: “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.”
Bible In A Year
- Isaiah 37-38
- Psalm 89
- Acts 11-12