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Listen and take action

I will be the first to admit - I listen some of the time, but not all of it. I tune out at times - not because I don't care, but because I daydream a bit. I find myself looking at the condition of something in the yard and then begin to consider how much work it will take to get those beds turned over and ready for planting. I catch a glance of the dust collecting on the edge of a bookcase shelf and consider my cleaning chores as unfinished, making a mental note to add those to the weekend warrior tasks. Most of the time we 'catch up' with the conversation as we tune back in, but not always. We all do it - we get distracted all while we are supposed to really be listening to someone right there in front of us. If that 'someone' is God, that lack of attentiveness to what he is telling us might just cost us in the end!

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (James 1:22-23)

Listening is only as good as the action behind it. God doesn't just speak to us through is Word so we will have a moment or two of rejoicing and then walk away unchanged. His words are meant to be met with action - most of the time that action is on our part! Think about all the times Jesus spoke while he walked this earth. Even when the people were gathered on the hillside listening to his lessons, they became hungry. Their natural instinct was to go find food and eat, but instead, he told his disciples to take a few fish and loaves from a boy in the crowd. If you know the rest of the story, you realize the fish and loaves fed over 4,000 that day. Jesus blessed those loaves and fish, but the disciples acted upon his request to take it amongst the crowd to distribute it until all were filled. The people had to take from the baskets and then they had to eat to be filled. He blessed (spoke), but they all acted upon what he spoke!

The beggar at the side of the road, blind from birth, had to take the steps to have his healing 'finished'. Jesus made the mud, put it on his eyes, and asked what he could see. The man had to open his eyes, closed for so long to any sight, and look around. He had to tell Jesus what he saw - imperfect vision, but new sight was coming. Jesus laid his hands on him again, the man regaining perfect sight. He had to look hard again - realizing his sight was not perfect. Jesus spoke, acted, and waited - the man had to look, had to really focus, and then he began to see clearly. Action is required, my friends, not just being idly sitting by as Jesus moves across our lives.

Some will argue that 'work' means we make null and void 'faith', but I will argue our trust to do as we are asked to do is really a sign of the depth of our faith. The action doesn't nullify the faith we have - it reveals just how well that faith is placed in Christ. Vision to the blind, life to the dead, straightness to the mangled limb - those were 'big' miracles. Is your need any less important to Jesus? Not at all. In fact, there was no burden too small for him to carry to the cross. There was no sin too great he could not completely wipe it away at the cross. God's job is to speak - ours is to listen - not idly, but with the willingness to take the action he requests. Just sayin!

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