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 six 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.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.“
James 1:19-20 (NIV)
What types of things are you eager to listen to? Why? Are there things, or people, that you try to avoid listening to? Why? Do you ever feel trapped in a conversation and try to find a way out? What could you do to listen more eagerly in such a time? How eager are you to listen to those you serve with? Why? How about to those you serve? Why? Are you more likely to listen or to want to be listened to? Would the people closest to you agree with your answer?
We have all likely had times when something happened that caused us to listen eagerly to every detail we could possibly hear. I think of national tragedies such as 9/11 and the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Everyone I knew was glued to a news source, eager to hear whatever could be told. It didn’t matter how minute or trivial the details may have been, we all were eager to hear every last word. We would do well to apply that same eagerness to our desire to hear every last word of those we serve and those we serve with.
As you pray, ask God to help you to be a person who is quick to listen. Pray that you would listen to others with an eagerness that encourages them to speak.