September 26, 2015

Love Takes Time to Listen

Mark 5:25-34

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

—  Romans 12:15

My life is busy. I work more than full time, and my wife works too. We are helping our kids through college. Our family is expanding again as our children get married. I have volunteer commitments. I . . . well, you get the picture.

Most of us feel like we need more hours in a day, more days in a week, and we have too little time for sleep and relaxation. With all of that activity, we feel as if we can give only brief attention to any one thing. Who has time to stop and really listen to another person? If we ask someone how she is doing, and she begins to give a real answer, our first thought is “I don’t have time for this!” Paul calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, but we can’t do that if we are too focused on our own to-do lists.

Jesus was very busy too. In just over three years, he healed the sick, trained followers, taught a whole new understanding of the Old Testament, saved human­kind from sin, and set in motion events that will one day make all things new. And yet, he took time to listen to a sick woman tell the whole story of her illness. And that’s just one example of Jesus’ taking time to really be with people.

If you want to follow Paul’s command, follow Christ’s example and take time to listen.

Everlasting God, I feel so busy, so limited, so impatient. Teach me to slow down, listen, and love others. May I rejoice and mourn with people in their sorrows and joys. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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