It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others. There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others. Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season. I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.
This is day five in the tenth week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”. This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others. Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.
“King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.“
Acts 26:2-3 (NIV)
How quickly do you get tired of listening to someone? How likely are you to interrupt a person before they are done speaking? How often do you quit listening to someone because you think you already know everything they could say? Has your listening to someone ever revealed an unexpected surprise? How difficult is it to continue to listen to something that you suspect will challenge your beliefs and way of life? How will listening patiently help you as you serve today?
I have a rather slow speech pattern. Unfortunately, most of the world doesn’t seem to know what to do with such a thing. It is nearly impossible to finish a sentence because I have met very few people who know how to listen patiently. Many of the people we serve, and serve with, have the same frustration with us but for a slightly different reason. Often times the very heart of what they want to tell us is buried deep toward the end of a conversation as it takes great courage to build up to what they need to say. It is through our patient listening that we discover how we need to serve.
As you pray, ask God to give you patience in listening.