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A listening ear


   

Friday Reflection

   

5th February 2021


no one can even talk to him!


You need to know this
and figure out what to do,
for there is going to be trouble
for our master
and his whole family.
He's so ill-tempered that
no one can even talk to him!"

....1 Samuel 25:17


I was talking to an elderly friend
the other day as I took her in some
shopping I'd got for her.

She cannot get out much
and gets frustrated
during this lock-down.
She said,

'I feel so useless,
I wonder if there is any point me
being here at all.'

I assured her there was,
she may not be able to do many
active or practical things
for others but she had one of
the greatest gifts of all -
a listening ear
and a wise mind.

If ever I had a problem,
I knew I could always take it
to her and she would listen,
really listen and I generally
came away with a clearer view
of the situation
through her wise words.

She hadn't thought of listening
as a gift and realised that
others depended on her
in the same way -
she was valued.

It's easy to fix our faces
as though we are listening -
while really,
we're just composing responses
in our heads -
but it is daunting
to truly listen.

Yet scripture tells a story
which shows us that listening
leaves a great legacy.

The first book of Samuel,
chapter 25 contains a better than
Hollywood story in which Abigail,
described as both intelligent
and beautiful,
as the lone soul standing
between a furious future king
and the annihilation
of her community.

At the beginning of this true story,
her 'surly and mean' husband,
Nabal, started a fight when
he treated David,
the soon to be sovereign,
with contempt.

An eavesdropping servant,
who recognised the danger
of the situation,
rushed to Abigail and described
the life-threatening crisis.

The servant ended by saying,
You need to know this and
figure out what to do,
for there is going to be trouble
for our master
and his whole family.


He's so ill-tempered that
no one can even talk to him!"

....1 Samuel 25:17


Think about the legacy
revealed in this servant's words
about each of the people
in this story.
The servant said that Nabal
was so ill-tempered
'that no one can even
talk to him.' -
Nabal's legacy was
that he didn't listen.

But the servant hurried to Abigail
to both tell her what had happened
and trust her to intervene -
Abigail was known for listening.

The next line of the story says
that 'Abigail acted quickly.'
Because she was a good listener,
people like the servant
told her things,
they trusted that her listening
skills would lead her to
wise action.

Abigail listened to understand
and with discernment,
both traits of a good listener.

Abigail displayed her character
in this passage with what she
didn't say rather than what she did -
instead of a pithy response;
a story about herself that
showed she could relate;
a change in subject since
this one was too intense;
a criticism of the servant's
assessment of the situation -
she absorbed the servant's
information in respectful
silence and then acted.

She proved she was a good listener
with an appropriate response.

To my shame I must confess
I am not such a good listener -
my mind is often on other things,
as my other half will endorse!

Abigail's example shows me
I have a lot to learn
and inspires me to grow.

In our interaction with others,
we have to resist the urge to allow
our minds to wander,
dismiss or otherwise become known
as someone who doesn't listen.

The words of others deserve our
attention and respect.
With a heart to change,
we can learn to be more
like Abigail,
leaving a legacy of
being a loving listener.



It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'In Quietness.'
sung by Luke Parker
via the link shown below.


Blessings

Maureen