There’s an art to listening — that ability to hear, comprehend and respond to what someone says. It’s a skill that takes practice.
For some, though, it can be as simple as turning up their hearing aid — a quiet fact I learned this past Sunday.
We’d been invited by a friend to visit their place of worship. The music had been loud and lively; the minister upbeat with an inspiring sermon.
“Wasn’t the speaker’s sense of humor great?” I chuckled as my husband, Bill, and I headed toward our car after the church service. “He really kept my interest!”
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Bill paused while the engine roared to life. “Yep, I wanted to ask him what kind of athlete he was after he mentioned it in one of his stories, but I didn’t get a chance."
How had I missed that, I wondered as our vehicle nosed out of the parking lot? I’d remembered the pastor talking about his recent challenge to the congregation to read the entire New Testament. But I hadn’t heard a word about the reverend being an athlete.
My puzzled look had Bill explaining further.
“You were probably spacing out,” he chided. “Don’t you remember when he joked about being at a conference for a worldwide organization?”
Now it made sense. One of us wasn’t hearing what had been said.
“The minister said AMWAY, not athlete,” I grinned, “and that’s what made it so funny!”
As the story went, the minister had been asked by a young couple seated next to him on the airplane what conference he’d just attended. And like many of us, he felt a twinge when he knew admitting to being at a Christian event — and even more, one for ministers — would change the feel of the conversation.
Jokingly, the pastor had told the congregation he’d said “Amway”.
Bill groaned, “Boy! Am I glad I didn’t run into him going out the door. He’d have thought I was crazy asking him about being an athlete!”
Maybe that’s why when ministers preach, they always ask us to turn to the scriptures. If we’re going to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only,” we’ll understand it better in black and white.