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A Shortage of Listeners  

You've heard there's a national coin shortage, a computer chip shortage, a cream cheese shortage (I'm not joking), and a truck driver shortage. Supposedly, there's also a shortage of Christmas trees—real and fake—and we can likely expect another toilet paper shortage soon.

To this list, add one more: a shortage of people who care to listen to others. Everybody loves a conversation. But hardly anybody likes to listen.

Perhaps you’ve had the experience of asking someone about their day—and then been fire-hosed with a ten-minute monologue. (Of course, you’ve never done that, have you?).

Despite Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, people feel less heard than ever. It seems to me people are also hurting more these days. But there are fewer people around who care to listen.

This, it seems to me, is our golden moment as Christ-followers. It's our opportunity to witness for Christ by showing the compassion of Christ—merely by listening.

What if we excelled at listening? What if we were the absolute best listeners our lost neighbors and loved ones ever encountered?

You say, “I don’t have the patience—or the time.” Really? Isn't it true we spend most of our prayer time asking of God or confessing to God rather than listening to God? Consider: the King of the universe has time to listen to us. How dare we be less gracious?

What if we listened by locking eyes with our friends and coworkers rather than stealing glances at our phones? What if we nodded our heads in empathy rather than nodded off? And—most difficult of all—what if we resisted the twin urges to either comment on their diatribe or go off on our own?

Ours is a bruised planet. Hear the hurts of others.

Ours is a worried planet. Hear the worries of others.

Ours is a lonely planet. Hear the pain of others.

As we have been listened to by our King, let us listen well to His subjects.

 

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

-Philippians 2:4

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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