The ministry of listening ...

Was listening to a podcast again yesterday 

and heard these beautiful words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

"The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship

consists in listening to them.

Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word,

so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.

It is God's love for us that He not only gives us His Word

but also lends us His ear.

Christians ...

so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others ...

They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.

Many people are looking for an ear that will listen.

They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking when they should be listening.

But he [or she] who can no longer listen to his brother [or sister] will soon be 

no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God, too ...

Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them

by Him who is Himself the great listener

and whose work they should share.

We should listen with the ears of God ..."

What if today we each considered that our primary ministry

with each person we come across is to

listen to them,

and I mean really listen ...

not just listen so that we can say something wise,

but to, as Bonhoeffer describes,

"listen with the ears of God."

Tags: Called to Community, Living Hospitably, Developing a Rule of Life