I grew up in a family of eight. We didn’t have much in terms of material things and NEVER went out to eat. One of my friends, however, ate at McDonald’s once a week, which I was quite jealous of. So when my oldest brother told me he would take us to McDonald’s, I could not believe it! I told him I would go start his brand-new truck, and ran towards the door.
His voice echoed behind me as I ran out of the house: “No! Don’t start it up!” But I, at 14 years of age, was too excited to listen. I turned the key and was shocked when his truck (did I mention it was brand new?) lurched forward, hit the house, crushed a gutter, and got a nice dent. The brand. New. Truck. His truck was apparently a stick shift, which I had never even heard of before.
Somehow my brother did not kill me, and my paper route money for many months went to pay him back for the damage I had done.
While we can laugh about this now, nearly 40 years later, the memory of the event is imprinted in my mind, with the key takeaway being to listen and learn. My brother very clearly did not want me to start his truck, but I didn’t listen. Not only did I not get McDonald’s that night, that few seconds cost me a lot of money. I learned to try to be a better listener, especially when someone is urgent in their declaration, as he was.
Did you know the word “listen” appears in the Bible over 250 times? In the Old Testament, we are told that we are wise if we listen to advice. We see examples where time and time again, God listened to prayers. We see calamity occur over and over when people don’t listen to God or his prophets. In the New Testament, God tells us to listen to Jesus. Jesus tells his disciples to listen to Him as He tells parables. Jesus says that His sheep listen to Him. We are told that everyone who is of the truth listens to Jesus’ voice. Listening seems to be quite important, doesn’t it?
Sometimes we appear to be listening to people, but we are actually just planning what we are going to say back to them. As Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him, let’s do the same. The outcome will be much more pleasant for us.