Are you willing to listen?
Right before Jesus took off for the cross, he stopped and conversed with the rich young ruler (Mk 10:17). He delayed his march to Jerusalem, to his death, and to his victory over the grave to talk with the young man and to point him to Christ. As believers and followers of Christ, we must have the same disposition and mindset. We must be willing to stop and converse with others. We must care enough about our neighbors, our children, and our spouse to abandon our programs, our goals, and our ministries to care for them. Dietrich Bonhoeffer rightly noted that “Our love for another consists first of all in listening.” The greatest success one can have is not found in creating a program that employees hundreds or thousands of people. Our greatest success, our most profound moments, our greatest times of influence often come when we stop and listen.
And we should not stop and listen simply to appreciate a violin solo or to notice the sunset. Those things are good and noble. They exist for our enjoyment and point to the beauty and majesty of our creator. We should stop and listen to hear people’s hearts, to learn of their sorrows and to point them to Christ. Many people wind up in crisis, depressed, hurt, and horribly broken because no one was willing to lay aside their schedules, programs, and ministries to care for them. As speaker, pastor, and counselor Paul David-Trip notes:
Perhaps the simplest reason for our lack of self-disclosing candor is that no one else asks.
Jesus took time to listen to the rich young ruler and to ask questions the drew out his heart. Jesus took the time to know what we all experience becoming human so that he could perfectly relate to us for the purpose of redeeming us. If Christ has so loved us, how can we not in turn love others?
If we Jesus and truly want to follow him, we too must be willing to stop, to listen, and to draw our the hearts of those around us. We must be willing to be thrown of task and schedule for the gospel. We must be willing to risk a large invest of time and be willing to receive a result that we deem less than desirable. We must be willing to follow Christ and love others not matter the cost.