Luke 10 recounts the time Jesus visited the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha. What a momentous occasion that must have been! Martha immediately started preparing food — gathering, cutting, boiling, getting a fire started and cooking. The Scriptures tell us that, meanwhile, her sister Mary made a very different choice. “She . . . sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. (Luke 10:39)”
That sent Martha into a fit of anger. She felt that her sister was shirking her duties, so she complained to Christ, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! (Luke 10:40)” She must have been really upset to accuse the Lord of not caring. What was supposed to be a fantastic afternoon was suddenly going south.
It’s easy to imagine that years later Martha deeply regretted not taking time to hear what Jesus had to say. There is a lesson here to not let the busyness of life distract us from caring enough to listen.
The second story is when Jesus took Peter, James and John up to a high mountain and was transfigured, which means He was suddenly shrouded with the kind of heavenly glory that He had put aside in order to live among us. God the Father then spoke to the three disciples, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him! (Matthew 17:5)”
Why the special admonition to listen? Shortly before this mountaintop experience, Jesus had told His disciples for the first time that He was going to be killed. Peter, in particular, vehemently rejected such a prediction. Now, shortly after the transfiguration, Christ was going to talk about His death again, and the Father wanted to make sure they didn’t turn a deaf ear.
It is interesting that, years later, James wrote:
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” – James 1:19
Ultimately, listening is a gift of love. It is one of the most powerful ways we have of blessing the lives of those around us.
Lord, help me to be present in the moment and truly listen to those who speak to me. Amen.