February 02, 2017

What Keeps Us From Hearing?

Luke 8:11-15

The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

—  Luke 8:15

A good farmer was mindful to spread seed on good soil, or it would never take root and grow into a crop. Some of it could be trampled on or eaten by birds; some could fall on rocky soil or among thorns and then wither or get choked out. Only the seed sown on good soil would produce a fine crop.

The same is true of the Word of God. God spreads his Word generously, even in unlikely places. Just as some seed never brings a crop, so also God’s Word sometimes bears no fruit. Some of us attend worship services but don’t really hear what God is saying—perhaps because we think we’ve heard it all before, or because we have been pressured to be there.

What will it take for us to remove obstacles that keep us from hearing what God has to say to us? In years past some of God’s people took the time on Saturdays to prepare for worship on Sundays. Every Saturday evening, for example, my wife’s parents took a half hour to have devotions in preparation for the Sunday service.

One easy thing we can do today is to pray before gathering with others to worship God. We can pray for the worship leaders and the person who will be preaching, and we can ask that God’s Spirit will speak through them. We can also ask God to open our hearts and minds so that we can hear what the Spirit wants us to hear.

Holy Spirit, please remove obstacles that can so easily keep us from hearing what you are saying to us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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