Two Ears, One Mouth
After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Luke 2:46
Greek philosopher Epictetus may have said it first: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Easier said with the tongue then put into practice with the ears.
What we tend to struggle with even as adults, Jesus put into practice perfectly as a child. When he was twelve years old he sat among the teachers, listening and asking questions. At even this tender age, He was bringing the message and modeling how we can do the same.
Listen well. In his book, Am I Making Myself Clear, Terry Felber details a study of teenage prostitutes in San Francisco. When these girls were asked what they lacked at home that caused them to run away, the girls’ answers came down almost universally to three words: “Someone to listen.”
“Please listen” is the cry of every hurting, misunderstood, and lost soul. And when we do just that, people experience God’s tangible love and care. They meet Jesus! Be quick to listen by slowing down to really hear what is being said and not said, for what someone wants you to hear or not hear.
Doubly listen. As we listen to people, let’s intentionally listen to the Holy Spirit. We can’t read minds and motives, but He can! He knows the anguish, secrets, and desires of each heart. He alone can mend and satisfy each soul. Follow His nudge to speak or to be still. Not sure? Keep listening. And . . .
Ask questions. The Gospels record more than one hundred fifty questions asked by Jesus and we know there were more. If all that Jesus said and did were in writing, the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 21:25). While religious leaders used questions to trap Jesus, Christ used questions to invite others into the activity of discovery. “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29) “Which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42) He asked questions that moved to the heart of the matter. “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Matthew 16:26) Rather than force-feed the Gospel, His questions gave space for listeners to process and personalize.
Listen well. Ask questions. Follow Jesus’ example. Then we’ll be messengers God can use.
Send Me: Who needs your listening ear most today?