Whoever has an ear, let them hear…
Not too long after World War II, when jobs were scarce and people had very little money, a rare employment opportunity became available. A local telegraph company was looking for an individual who had communication skills and experience with Morse Code. In fact, knowing the Morse Code system was a prerequisite.
This particular job promised a good benefit package along with an excellent starting salary. A young, unemployed man, who for months had responded to nearly every help wanted poster and sign, saw the ad in the paper. Since he was very familiar with Morse Code, he decided to at least apply for the job. The employment notice did not list a phone number, only an address; so without being able to contact anyone about the job, he made his way to the address in the paper.
When he arrived at the location, he couldn't believe his eyes. There were literally hundreds of people—men and women all crammed into a tiny little space. The man walked up to the receptionist and gave his name. The gal smiled at him and told him to please have a seat because it was going to be a while. He then asked about all the other people, and the receptionist mentioned they were all there waiting to be interviewed for the same position.
As the man found an empty seat in the waiting area, he thought to himself, “What in the world am I doing here? Look at all these people, all of them are after this one job. How can I compete with them? I don’t have a good education; I’ve been out of work for months so I can’t provide the employer with references; and I don’t even own a decent suit to wear. I don't stand a chance at getting this job.”
Just about the time the man decided to leave, something caused him to change his mind. All at once, he got up from his seat and rushed through the door that was identified as the interviewing office. A few minutes later the executive administrator came out to the lobby and made the following announcement. He said, “Everyone, thank you very much for coming today, we appreciate your time and your willingness to be employed here. I’m sorry, the position has just been filled.”
At that, all the people begin to murmur and complain. (No big surprise.) They demanded to know why the job was given to that man. Some of them had been sitting there for hours waiting for their names to be called. None of them had even made it past the application process.
The executive responded and said, “Beginning early this morning we have been communicating a message to you over the PA system in Morse Code. The same message was repeated over and over again. This was the message: ‘Whenever you hear this announcement, please walk into the room clearly marked as the interviewing office.’” The administrator continued, “Keep in mind, as described in the employment advertisement, a working knowledge of Morse Code is a job requirement. Unfortunately, none of you were able to decipher the message we were broadcasting. This man we chose to hire was the only one to hear and interpret it.”
How many of you have learned there’s a huge difference between knowing what God has said, and hearing what God might be saying to us today? I’ll bet most everyone in that waiting room had a working knowledge of Morse Code; but for some reason, only one man heard it. Likewise, today many believers know what the Word of God has to say, some have read through the entire Bible, even memorized large portions of scripture. However, discerning the pulse of the Spirit is altogether different.
Several times in the gospels Jesus said, “He (or she) that has an ear, let them hear what the Spirit is saying.” When Jesus made that statement, He was calling for people to pay close and careful attention. Another way of saying the same thing is “Hey…stop what you’re doing for a minute and listen up!” Again, there’s a big difference between having natural ears and having spiritual “ears to hear.”
Right along these same lines, I’m reminded of a passage of scripture in the Old Testament Book of Amos...
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
“when I will send a famine through the land–
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.
Did you catch that last statement? A famine of the words of God, right? In other words, God would stop speaking to His people. Is that what the Bible says? No! Not a famine for God’s word, but rather an inability to “hear” what the Lord is saying to us.
How do we fix that? How do we put ourselves in position to hear God speak to us today? The first step is pretty simple; we have to learn to listen. Let me go ahead and repeat that concept again. We have to re-learn what it means to listen. And my dear friends, we cannot listen to the Lord or anyone else for that matter with a phone or mobile device in our hands.
What I mean by that is, we have to desperately try to sort through the numerous life distractions and interferences that consume our everyday lives. That’s really how we listen to anyone or anything. We have to proactively make “hearing” a top priority. Listening 101 begins with a willingness to “Give the speaker your undivided attention.”
I Samuel 3:10
… “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”