Listening is one of my favorite hobbies. I’m not even kidding. I love stories, and everyone has a story.
I tend to ask questions of others. Sometimes the conversations eke along slowly when their answers are short or people are reserved and don’t want to talk much about themselves. But I like it when I figure out that one topic when people’s faces suddenly light up. I see that I’ve unearthed their passion. “Tell me more.” Then I get a deluge of great new stories.
I am fascinated to hear about other people’s interests. I may have zero skills in gardening, preparing taxes, raising farm animals, or restoring cars—but if you are excited to tell me about it, I’m game to learn!
Most interesting to me is people’s backgrounds. I want to hear where you’re from, what your family dynamic is, where you’ve traveled, who you’ve met, what job experiences you’ve had. I love hearing about the things that have shaped you—how God has molded you into you.
I want to extol the virtues of this important piece of our daily communication. I want to encourage everyone to listen well and listen more.
Listening is giving someone a gift. You are offering people your time and attention. You are indicating that you value what they say. You demonstrate that you care about them as individuals created in the image of God. Can listening really do all of that? Indeed.
When you have something important to say, when you need to get something off your chest, when you need advice, when you have great news to share—how good does it feel when someone is really listening to you? When you are truly heard, you feel validated and valued. When you listen, you offer those gifts to others.
Listening to others helps you understand them better. You will never fully grasp what it is like inside another person’s mind and heart, but the gift of listening can offer a glimpse. How can you reach out to others unless you know their needs? The way you’ll find out is by asking and listening.
Try ministering with your ears this week. Listen to your family. Listen to your friends. Listen to strangers you just met. Listen with the goal of connecting and caring and showing the love of Jesus.
It can start with three simple words: “Tell me more.”