Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. (James 1:19 MSG)
How is it that God asks us to pay attention to the garden of our life? It is plainly laid out for us as learning to listen well, speak only after we have listened well, and then dealing with the junk that keeps us from having deep and lasting relationships. Tend the garden well and it will produce beautiful growth for not only your enjoyment, but the enjoyment of all who pass through it! We are landscaped with his Word. These are the 'seeds' by which life becomes vibrant and fruitful. Those red hibiscus flowers encourage the pollinating creatures like the wee hummingbirds to come into the garden. They help ensure I have a consistent yield of bell peppers - sweet and tender from the bush. In much the same way, God plants seeds and tends them with care, but he also asks for us to be attentive to what he has planted and to 'cooperate' with the growth process!
Certainly learning to be a good listener is not the easiest of tasks to undertake, but it is one of the first things he lists here as helping to ensure a good 'yield' from the garden of our lives. Seeds planted won't matter at all if they are constantly trampled over by our arguments and constant excuses. We aren't to talk, then listen - we are to hear and then act! Just sayin!