How well do you hear? This was a question proposed to me last Sunday while sitting in the congregation at church. I thought to myself- I could physically get my ears checked and have a report tell me how well my physical ears are performing, yet this would do me zero good in telling me how well my soul is hearing. The question desires to ping at our hearts, to dig deeper, more into the soul than the ears. How well do we listen? The Gospel of John refers to Jesus as our Good Shepherd. How did the shepherd back in olden days “shepherd” his sheep? How did he guide them and lead them to eat and drink and be nourished? Did some sheep get lost? I’m sure. But I’m also sure the shepherd probably did everything in his might to shepherd those sheep back into his tender care. How well do we listen to our Good Shepherd? If we are His sheep, we know His voice, yet what is getting in the way of us actually hearing it? Are our days too busy to listen and to hear directly from the Throne of Grace? I love Luke’s passage about Martha and Mary. And it reads, “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:38-40). Mary knew a precious secret; she knew how to rest at Jesus' feet; she knew how to listen to Jesus- her Good Shepherd. Martha- not so much as she was distracting in simply just serving Jesus.
I can’t help but think that’s where we ALL find ourselves at times, so distracted by the day to day tasks, duties, and must-do’s, of serving that we forget to stop and rest and enjoy Jesus and all that He has to offer us. Is Jesus to be served? Absolutely! But when we are merely serving (doing-doing-doing) and not resting, leaning into, and listening to our Good Shepherd, how could we hear His voice, be sensitive to His Spirit guidance, and be rejuvenated by the rest He offers? Is your long to-do list distracting you from the tasks the Lord desires to set before you today vs. the tasks you alone are setting before yourself? Does your day, week, month show too much red on your calendar that’s stealing all of your attention away from the rest the Lord so wants to give you? Are there things in your day you CAN say NO to and begin taking steps to balance out your workload that better glorifies God and His plan for your life? In my own experience, I’ve seen how the enemy has used busyness time and time again to try and tear apart relationships such as our marriage, our children, our friends and even the ministry He’s called us to. We are learning that what the world sees for good- "staying busy", is only leaving us desperately thirsty for the rest only Jesus can provide. The first steps for us in beginning to see this was 1. seeking the Lord’s heart in all of it and 2. examining our own heart in light of the gospel, what it says and what our circumstances are showing us and 3. physically taking a step BACK and reevaluating our situation in light of Jesus’ calling. And slowly... the Lord is graciously allowing us to begin slaying these distractions, one by one.
In what ways will you begin taking the steps today to eliminate distraction and begin generating time to truly seek the Lord’s voice to the very edges of your life? Today, I am praying the Lord would come alongside you and speak to your heart in a tender way. I’d love to hear from you, come alongside you, pray with you, and offer encouragement wherever I can! ***Please send all questions and/or prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A prayer for you:
Lord, You are The One Good Shepherd that never, ever leaves 'the one' behind. Lord, You shepherd our hearts back to Your own. Thank YOU for this reality. Father, I ask You'd help our hearts help our eyes physically see the distraction and landmines in our lives that are leading us astray. By Your grace, give us courage and humble us enough to be truthful with ourselves, with our loved ones, and to ask for help when we need help. Lord, we can't do any of this without You. Be glorified in our messiness, for we only desire to bring Your Name praise and honor and glory. It's in Your Great and Mighty Name, the Name of Jesus that we pray all of these things. Amen.