Shut Up and Listen

August 27, 2003

[Howard Stern: SHUT UP AND LISTEN!]Luke 1:5-25 lectio: Unable to speak… he returned home… his wife became pregnant. So here are Zachariah and Elizabeth, childless after so many years. Zachariah gets his once-in-a-lifetime chance to minister directly to God. There, he encounters the angel Gabriel, but does not believe what Gabriel tells him. The congregation is waiting restlessly on the other side, wondering what is taking Zachariah so long. He finally comes out — unable to speak. But he concludes his scheduled duty just the same.

After completing his assigned duty, he finally goes home — unable to speak. He and Elizabeth have a nice, intimate time together — and Elizabeth conceives.

I had to laugh at this thought: Could it be that they finally had a child because Zachariah was unable to speak? (I told you this Lectio was especially peculiar.)

Maybe this was the first time he actually listened to his wife! All those years of being talked at came to an abrupt end, she felt heard and loved — and new life was born inside of her, she was finally fruitful.

Lesson 1: Husbands, listen to your wives. And it’s easy for introverts like me to fool people into thinking we’re listening just because we’re not talking, when in fact I am using the time you talk to plan what I am going to say next. Listening is not easy; it is an act of love that puts the other person first.

So there I was, chuckling at the thought that Elizabeth may have become pregnant because Zachariah couldn’t talk. And so she was fruitful. …Suddenly, my thoughts get yanked to fruitfulness. Spiritual children. Evangelism. Barrenness.

Lesson 2: Are followers of Jesus not experiencing fruitfulness in bearing spiritual children because we talk too much? What if we shut up and listened, really listened to people. Isn’t that what they crave, to be heard? Isn’t listening a demonstration of the God Who Cares?

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

3 responses to Shut Up and Listen

  1. hahahaha…now THAT’s lectio!

  2. The central skill that caring ministries, like Stephen Ministries, use is that of active listening. That skill is the most effective way to communicate Gods love through the care-giver to the care-receiver.
    I learned alot about Gods love through the training in this skill. I believe it is one of the hardest non-physical skills to learn.