Read Proverbs 18:13
13 Answering before listening
is both stupid and rude. (THE MESSAGE)
It is one of the perils of the pastoral vocation that those who are paid to lead a church via teaching and preaching tend to do a lot more speaking than listening. One of the sad trends in some circles is to neglect the development of pastoral relationships in order to focus on preparing and presenting ‘good sermons’ or bible studies.
This is self-defeating. Unless we are in contact regularly with those whom we teach we will not teach clearly or helpfully. Unless we stop imposing our agendas on the people we lead we will never get to hear what is on their own hearts. As our text reminds us, before we speak we need to listen.
And listening is hard because it takes time. Listening involves a lot more than a cheery greeting at church or a pause between saying what we have on our minds. It is so rare and so precious to find someone who is fully present for us in a conversation. No looking at timepieces to show how busy they are and how they must be going. No boasting about how much they have on that very day as if you are being squeezed into their busy schedule as a special favour.
This is true for all of us. Being busy is no sin, but being too busy to take time to listen is a sin of failing to love and value another person. Only as we truly listen will we discover what needs to be said.