Numbers 11:24–30 is the Old Testament lesson for this coming Sunday the Feast of Pentecost—Because the task of caring for the children of Israel was overwhelming, the Lord instructed Moses to appoint seventy men as elders to assist him. For some unknown reason, two of them, Eldad and Medad, failed to present themselves at the tabernacle for commissioning. Yet, the Spirit rested upon them, also. Some of the others thought that they should be stopped from prophesying, proclaiming the Word of the Lord.
Moses exclaims, “Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” Though pastors are appointed to fulfill certain tasks in the Lord’s Church, all Christians are called upon to give witness to the hope that is in them (See 1 Peter 3:15) by proclaiming the Word of God, as opportunities are presented.
As our state and community is slowly beginning to open up now is an excellent time for you to give witness to the hope that is in you. Especially now, Christians have something people desperately need and many are missing: hope. Now, of all times, we must be prepared to give an answer to anyone and everyone who asks about the hope that is in us.
To offer hope we need to engage with others in significant conversation – dialogue that’s been missing as people have become more isolated during recent weeks when many were ordered to stay at home. Significant discussion involves not only speaking but also listening. This is where you can do your part.
Listening is half, yet an integral and essential part of a successful conversation. We’ve all experienced at some time an exchange that was limited to, “Let’s talk about me and then let’s talk about me some more.” When you take turns to talk, everyone feels heard. This is great communication. Empathic listening—understanding your neighbor fully, rather than seeing what they talk about through your own point of view is critical. The Bible emphasizes the importance of listening. James instructs believers to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” -James 1:19
Listening is essential to evangelism and witness. Listening is like a stethoscope to the human heart. We can find out what is happening inside the heart of a person by simply listening—an invaluable tool when sharing Christ. Ask the Lord to help you to become a better and much more engaged listener.
It might take some time before people feel comfortable around others. Some are eager to move on and move forward. In the coming weeks, as we focus on practicing good social distancing skills become proactive in developing good listening skills. Listen to their story. And when the opportunity arrives don’t be afraid to give witness to the hope that is in you.
Lord, open my ears and my heart to the needs of others around me. As we engage in significant conversation may I truly listen and become empathetic. Only then can I effectively speak of the hope to which we have been called.