“My wife says I don’t listen,” a husband remarked, “or at least I think that’s what she said. I really wasn’t listening.”
Listening is a valuable, and sometimes, difficult skill.
We live in a noisy world. Many messages and ideas are clamoring for an audience, and it is difficult to tune in and listen. Distractions try to grab our attention while we’re listening, and it can be a struggle. Listening is vital to success though, so it is a skill you and I must continually sharpen.
No matter the goal, listening will be a part of achieving it. Colleagues must listen to one another to complete a project. A salesperson can only identify a customer’s needs if he or she listens. A husband can only understand his wife’s needs if he listens. A wife can only understand her husband’s dreams if she listens. In a deafening stadium, a team can only hear the play if they listen to the coach.
Teams must listen to the coach. Someone must call plays and send the team in the right direction, and success is found when the team listens. Listening is an essential skill for success.
Jesus understood the importance of listening, which is why he called fishermen. Fishermen know how to take orders. They know how to listen to the coach.
Fishermen know how to listen to the coach.
Jesus called fishermen to be his disciples because they knew how to listen. He would offer instruction or direction, and the disciples would go to work without questioning his authority. Here are 3 examples.
1. Simon and Andrew responded immediately to Jesus.
Mark 1:18 says, “When Jesus called Simon and Andrew, at once they left their nets and followed him.”
Simon and Andrew responded immediately to Jesus. Some situations require an immediate response to instructions.
2. The nets were put down after a fishless night.
Luke 5:4-6 records, “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Now go out where it is deeper, and let down the nets to catch some fish.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing, but if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.’ And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear.”
The disciples performed an action because Jesus gave a direction. I’ve often wondered how this account would be different if the fishermen had delayed in lowering the nets. Simon and his team lowered the nets simply because Jesus said to put them down.
3. A fishless night ended when the disciples placed the net on the opposite side of the boat.
After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples at the end of a fruitless night of fishing.
“He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish,” according to John 21:5-6.
Listening yielded great results. Jesus called fishermen because they knew how to listen to the coach.
The fishermen Jesus called were not dumb; they were not puppets reacting at the pull of a string. They understood when it was appropriate to ask questions and when it was necessary to just act. As fishermen, they understood sometimes the difference between failure and success is the width of the boat and the time it takes to get to the other side. Listening was a characteristic Jesus desired.
Take time to listen.
Listening is still a desired characteristic. It is okay to ask questions and try to understand methodology, but sometimes, it is vital to simply listen to the Lord.
- Proverbs 1:5 advises, “Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance.”
- In Psalm 46:10, the Lord says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
We live in a world filled with noise and chatter, which makes it hard to listen. However, victory can come through listening to the Lord.
One way to sharpen this skill is scheduling a noise and distraction free time each day. Use the time to read Scripture and pray. The quiet will provide an opportunity to hear what the Lord is saying.
Listening is also vital for successful relationships. Here are 10 steps to effective listening, which may help sharpen your skills.
Fishermen were good listeners, and listening is a valuable characteristic.
How good of a listener are you? Take a small step today to sharpen your listening skills. It may be turning off distractions while reading, putting down your phone when someone is talking with you, or slowing your pace to absorb what is being said. Share the steps you are taking to become a better listener in the comments below.
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