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FIRST-PERSON: Are you listening?

DORA, Ala. (BP)–What does God respond to? One thing should be a no-brainer, but for most of us it’s a very neglected aspect of our lives: listening to Him.

How often do we zip through our prayers without catching our breath, sign off and go on about our business? Rarely ever do we pause to allow our monologue to become conversation. Seldom do we sit in silence and expectantly wait on the Lord to speak to our hearts.

And what about other times during each day? Do we consciously seek to hear His voice, His guiding, as we go through our daily schedule? We have absolute confidence that if we tune our radios to such-and-such frequency, we’ll be listening to a specific station’s broadcast. We know how to pick up our favorite television programs. Doesn’t require a genius, does it?

So why as children of God do we find it so difficult to hear Him? Could it be because we’re not listening?

Luke 10:38-42 is a familiar passage. In it Jesus and His disciples are visiting in the house of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. As the others gather around Jesus to hear His teachings, Martha scurries about the kitchen, frantically making preparations for their meal. Mary, meanwhile, continues to sit at His feet (a place only open to students, a.k.a. disciples of the teacher, by the way -– and only open to men before Jesus showed how God also valued women). When Mary continues to ignore Martha’s busy activities, Martha complains to Jesus, saying, “Make my sister get up and help me!” (my own paraphrase).

What did Jesus say in reply? “Get up from there, Mary. This is a place reserved only for men! Get in that kitchen where you belong!” No! The one He reprimanded was Martha, saying: “Martha, Martha, … you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better….” (Luke 10:41-42).

Note His use of the word “better.” It was not a comparison between multiple options; it was a choice of “one thing” or another, period. There was nothing “bad” about working in the kitchen, but look at the option!

And remembering the accounts of the loaves and the fishes, Jesus was perfectly capable of providing the whole meal miraculously, wasn’t He? Food for thought here, folks (no pun intended) — might Martha and everyone in the house have witnessed a miracle that day had Martha not allowed the worries of this world to sidetrack her from focusing on Jesus?

You’ve heard the expression, but it bears repeating, especially at this busy, busy season: Let go and let God. Put Him first -– earnestly listen to Him -– and the other things will find their place in the balance.

So, the options were: Get things started in the kitchen or sit at the feet of the Savior –- which would you choose? Hmmmm. Spend time in prayer and Bible study or watch another TV program -– which will you choose?

I assure you: The time you spend with Jesus will be returned to you in ways you can never imagine.
Judy Woodward Bates is an author, speaker, and radio and TV personality. Visit her website at: www.Bargainomics.com.

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  • Judy Woodward Bates