“I will follow you, Lord: but….” Luke 9:61
There’s always something. Something that seems more important or urgent, something that needs to be taken care of first or gets in the way of my listening or my following. We emphasis and give awards for leadership skills and teach them. Following skills? Not so much. Earlier in Luke 9:35 at the Transfiguration of Jesus the voice from the heavens instructs those with Jesus to listen. Listen. “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” Luke 9:35
His followers are amazed at all that he does, what they have seen and experienced. Now as Jesus speaks of his purpose and his direction he says to his disciple, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands .” Luke 9:44 “But they did not understand”- granted it also says “the meaning was concealed from them” and “they were afraid to ask”. Listening can seem a straight forward thing and it helps to distinguish between hearing and listening. We hear many things to which we do not listen.
Let’s go back to the listening part. We can learn to do more than hear- we can earn to listen. We can encourage one another and listen together. There are skills that help us learn to listen. Check out these two links for some tips on listening. We can keep learning.
7 Tips for Listening
10 Ways of Teaching Effective Listening
Followers listen for directions.Followers trust the one leading. Followers follow instructions. In the Lutheran Study Bible the inserted topic before Luke 9:57-62 is “Would Be Followers of Jesus”. In my Ryrie Study bible which is the New American Standard the title above those verses is “Rejection by Worldly Men” - well at least the women get by without judgment in that title. In my New Oxford Annotated Bible they just skip the subtitle/topic line which may be best.
Following is tough and when we add judgment and condemnation to it that’s not very helpful. There are many things that can get in the way of our listening. Fear and judgment can close our ears and our hearts. As I read, reflect and pray upon the assigned pericope for this week I am listening also to the voice of compassion, love, grace and forgiveness of Jesus as well.
It’s a both/and. Jesus calls us as followers to listen. And then to live out and act upon the call to follow Jesus. And Jesus rebukes his followers. This is a love that is willing to hold accountable those who follow. Earlier in Luke 9:54 Jesus rebukes James and John for their desire to command fire to come down from heaven upon the Samaritans who have rejected them. They are not in charge of judgment upon the Samaritans. Then they move on.
Jesus rebukes them and he loves them. So this week as the gospel reading convicts me of all the distractions to following. I am taking to heart the compassion, love and forgiveness of the One who is calling us to follow and to listen. And helps me go on my way to keep practicing all of what I get to keep learning about following Jesus a day at a time. I pray that you will listen and practice as well. Let’s listen for the call to follow and then do so. Blessings on the journey of following and listening.