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The Art of Listening

“Listening means responding to what you hear.”

Jennifer Dean

The Lord has drawn me to become more like Mary of Bethany, who sat at Jesus’ feet. I’ve asked Him to show me what she looks like. A few weeks ago while praying, Holy Spirit whispered, She wasn’t in a hurry. 

He took me to Luke 10:39 and unpacked that statement. “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.” Mary sat. Sitting is a position of stability and waiting. She didn’t stand and listen as if she was ready to go on to the next thing on her to do list. Mary sat. She gazed and focused on Jesus. Mary wasn’t distracted by the good, but focused on the BEST, the words of God.

Mary’s posture of sitting, displayed to Jesus that He had her full attention, much like when a parent squats down eye level to their child and holds their face in their hands. When that happens, the child knows their parent is listening and they have their complete attention. 

I confess, I’m not a good listener. I’m easily distracted by the next question I want to ask those I’m listening to and blurt out what I want to say, before I forget the thought. I hear their words, but my inattentiveness prevents me from remembering what they said. 

Mary of Bethany listened to remember. Listen means “to pay attention in order to hear.” Mary sat to listen in order to remember what Jesus said. When she recalled His words, then she could do what He talked about. Mary listened to obey. We hear, to heed. Hearing God’s voice proceeds obedience. We listen to Jesus speak to align our lives with His thoughts in order to do what He says. 

Mary wasn’t in a hurry. She sat to give her attention to the One who loved and accepted her the most: Jesus. Mary of Bethany listened to His words in order to remember them so she could obey them. Could we do anything less?

“Before we can hear the Divine Voice we must shut out all other voices, so that we may be able to listen, to discern its faintest whisper.“

Mark Rutherford

Relevant Reflections:

  1. What is the posture of your heart, when you spend time with Jesus-sitting or standing?

  2. Spend at least five minutes sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to remember His words in order to obey.

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