We have a toy poodle, and his name is Charlie. We have had him for almost 9 years. We think Charlie is pretty smart…he can sit AND stay, but what I think makes Charlie really smart is how he listens and then runs with both ears turned up. Our family has to spell the word R-I-D-E because if we say the word out loud he knows that means we are leaving in the car and he LOVES to ride in the car. Another thing I’ve noticed about Charlie is that he listens for different sounds. When he hears the Life 360 app ding to indicate that my daughter is home, he runs to the door and waits for her. When he hears the water running and the dishwasher door open, he runs to see if he can lick the water off of the dishwasher door. When he hears the cabinet door open that leads to the garbage can, he runs to see if he can catch some left over food falling out of the trash bag. When he hears the refrigerator door open, he runs to see what we might be getting to eat so that he might share with us. When he hears me in the kitchen frying meat, he runs to stand under my feet just in case I drop some morsels onto the kitchen floor.
Watching Charlie run every time he hears these sounds make me wonder what would happen if I ran towards God every time I heard Him speak. What would happen if my ears were so attuned to God that I ran to obey every time God called me to do something for Him? What would happen if I ran to seek His Word every time I faced a decision?
In Isaiah 6:8, Isaiah recalls,
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking: Who should I send? Who will go for us? I said: Here I am. Send me.”
In Genesis 12:1-4a, we read about the call of Abram,
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing; I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…”
Isaiah said, “Send me!” Abram “went!” Both of these men ran towards God and His calling. They listened and obeyed Him. Listening takes training. Our little poodle didn’t learn the sounds he responds to overnight. Charlie had to hear those sounds over and over through consistency in order to learn how to respond appropriately. We have to train ourselves to listen to God’s voice as well. We have to be obedient as soon as we hear God’s voice. We have to practice listening so that listening becomes our second nature.
I’ll admit I’m not the best listener. It’s convicting when I think about how many times I’ve disobeyed the word of the Lord. It’s disappointing when I realize I should be a lot more trained in the art of listening than I am, but I know that God’s grace is sufficient. I know that He is not finished with me yet. I know He has a lot more to say to me, and I’m thankful that He is still willing to teach me how to listen to Him.
I want to listen and respond every time He’s cooking something; every time He’s offering water to drink, every time He shows up; every time He opens a door, and every time He shares each morsel of His plan with me.
Here’s to 2020….may we ALL listen close and run with both ears turned up!