Yes, They Were Listening!
As a gospel preacher, I have asked audiences during Bible studies, “What did I preach last Sunday?” I’ve noticed a few silently “mouth” the answer (perhaps shyness … perhaps they aren’t sure!), while others remain absolutely still because they really don’t know, and they seem afraid I might call on them personally for the answer. (I never have, nor will I, but I’ve known preachers who did and would again!) After several years of preaching and teaching, an awareness of those who listen and those who don’t become apparent, and the preacher learns to accept those facts. He continues to pray they’ve heard enough, learned enough, and obey enough to save their souls; and those who fail in doing so at least had the opportunity to hear, learn and obey.
It sometimes amazes me to note those who listen. For example, I once knew a man born with cerebral palsy. During Bible studies, you might think Davey was sleeping. He wasn’t. In his words, he was merely “resting his eyes.” When a passage of scripture was started, and the teacher would wait for someone in the class to finish the statement, Davey was usually the first to respond! He didn’t see exceptionally well, an additional result of his illness, but oh how he listened! He was one of the best song leaders I ever knew because he had memorized most of the songs he led! You can’t do that without listening!
Ever notice how children surprise you by asking, “Mommy, daddy, what did they mean when they said …?” You didn’t think they heard anything, let alone listened to the subject matter! In some cases, you had no idea they were even near enough to hear you, let alone understand. But they were listening … and surprisingly, they retained what they heard! (Reminds us to “be careful little eyes what you see, litter ears what you hear, and little lips what you say, doesn’t it?) Yes, they are listening!
I muse about what folks hear. Gossip isn’t of any value, and in fact, is most frequently destructive. Therefore, it must never be spoken. Contrariwise, TRUTH is always valued and is the ONLY thing worth speaking and HEARING! Folks are listening, and most will retain what they hear. Let’s make sure that every word folks hear from our lips is not merely “thought to be true,” but is PROVEN truth (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Muse on how much better society would be if that were the case. And know this MUST be the case with every Christian, whether listening to the preacher or conversing with a friend. We must speak TRUTH with everyone!