Consider carefully how you listen
4 November 1999 was a perfect summers evening in Cape Town. An important evening, the opening of our 3rd Ear Institute in Belville Cape Town. We had a marque tent in the parking area, a large number of guests attending, some from Switzerland, and wonderful local food and wines from the Swartland (the Malmesbury area where my grandfather and my mother’s brothers farmed nearly a hundred years ago).
That evening the dedication and opening of the Ear Institute was done by Rev Frank Retief (who later became Bishop). His reading was from Luke 8:18 where Jesus said “Therefore consider carefully how you listen.” What apt words to use during the dedication of an Ear Institute…I thought – ‘ear and listen’. Over the years the words lingered on-and-off in my mind and little did I know it would only get it’s full meaning nearly 20 years later.
Currently there is a lot of noise going on in our country. Words like ‘state capture’, ‘nationalisation’ and ‘expropriation without compensation’ create fear among many people of all races and some are emigrating for greener pastures. And yet, more and more I start hearing the words of Jesus “…consider carefully how you listen.”
Do I listen with a ‘worldly ear’ to the politics of the day and endless negativity of the people around me or do I listen with my ‘spiritual ear’ embracing God’s promises for our country and all its people where He says “…forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do! For I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness … and create rivers (for them) in the desert!”
(Isaiah 43:18+19 Living Bible)
The question I constantly have to ask myself is…with which ear am I listening? And then I realise that all I can hold onto are God’s promises given to me over the years during my quiet time. His promises are steadfast and forever, so different from human promises that are broken or simply forgotten.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. And in those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek Me, if you look for Me in earnest.”
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 Living Bible)
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.”
(Isaiah 54:4+5 NIV)
This is the truth! All I have to do is consider carefully with which ear I listen.