In Luke 8:18 Jesus warned, “Therefore take heed how you hear.” He had said earlier, “And hearing they may not understand” (vs. 10). The words “hear” and “heard” are also found in vs. 12, 13, 14, and 15. Later, Jesus would add, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it” (vs. 21).
Seems that hearing is important, especially if God’s will is being communicated. A disposition to hear, to hear carefully, to make sure we understand correctly, ought to be our goal.
How well do we listen when God’s word is spoken from the pulpit? What is preached occupies a major part of our time in assemblies. Most would agree that what is said during that period may determine eternal destinies. Paul reminded Timothy that doctrine (teaching) faithfully followed would “save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim. 4:16). Those who preach have a great responsibility. But, so do those who hear them.
How can we be good listeners? Let me suggest several ways to listen during the time when God’s word is spoken.
Be Prepared to Listen. We don’t benefit from a sermon just because the words reach us. We need to be alert listeners. Trying to do too much on Saturday can ruin Sunday. Work on concentration as you connect thoughts and ideas. Don’t allow your mind to wander.
Listen to Get Benefit. Sermons differ, but all are meant to help. Expect benefit and you will find it. When I preached my first sermon, a man challenged the way I pronounced one word (he was wrong), but had nothing else to say. Bees and buzzards look for different things! You do not need to be gullible, but be careful about criticism. The writer of Hebrews reminded readers, “the word which they heard did not profit them” (4:2).
Be Willing to Put It Into Practice. James 1:22 teaches to “…be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” We know the reason there was a wise man and a foolish man in Matt. 7:24-27. We should want to be the Lord’s kinfolk. That will only happen when we do what He said, “hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21 again).
Graeber Road church of Christ