Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
-Jesus (Matthew 7:24)
I was listening to a pandora music station as I cleaned my office this week from the summer buildup. Papers, packages, and a host of other clutter had invaded my home office, largely as a result of my children deciding that it was their favorite room in the house to destroy for no reason at all.
I’m a music guy, and so I loved having a great backdrop of music to my task. Instead of it being an hour of drudgery, it became a joy.
After a while though, I got lost in my cleaning and apparently the music stopped playing. I don’t even know when it happened, but it had been a while. I checked my laptop, and there was a little screen that had popped up on my browser.
Are you still listening?
So I stood there for a moment and pondered the question. Pandora asks that question because it’s easy for people to walk away and forget what they’ve been doing (and also because they want you to buy the premium version but that’s not the point so please stay focused here).
Are you still listening?
The question can be a little annoying if you’re still in the room. Of course I’m still listening!
But that’s not always true, is it? It’s entirely possible for me to be sitting in the room and not actually be aware of what’s playing in the background. That’s why the question matters. It forces the hearer to do something… to actually participate, and to decide if they want to continue to listen, over and over again. Anytime that there’s lack of activity or engagement, the program’s gentle question pops onto the screen
Are you still listening? Still here? Do you want to continue?
And you have to do something.
Isn’t that what discipleship is all about? Belief that leads to action. Faith is so much more than "I pushed play once and now I believe in Jesus. I guess I’m done.” Yet, the uncomfortable reality is that much of our lives are indistinguishable from a non-follower of Jesus. But if we look at the life of Jesus, belief is simply a springboard to a way of life where we are constantly moving, acting, and living differently in light of our trust in Jesus. And that’s what the word “believe" means in the Bible, anyways. It’s about an active trust, where your action shows that you’re trusting.
The Spirit prompts that question in me once in a while…
Are you still listening? Do something to show me you’re still listening.
This may sound silly, but it could be the most transformative practice you ever do… what if you chose to do one little thing every single day that shows that you’re still listening? What if you invited Jesus to give you creative nudges each day to do something that expresses the radical faith you have in him? Something that a normal person probably wouldn’t do as they go about their life?
Maybe you stop one day and truly pray for your neighbors.
Maybe you write a note or a text that encourages someone out of the blue.
Maybe you take a brief prayer walk and simply waste time with Jesus.
Maybe you choose to give your money away to care for the poor in some tangible way.
Maybe you turn your phone off for 2 hours so that you can be more present with people.
Maybe you read the perspective of a marginalized person in America and ask Jesus how he would respond.
Are you still listening? Click the button.
The transition from summer to fall is right on top of us. Many of us are busy making plans, getting back into school year rhythms, and trying to finish all of the items on our summer to-do list before we’re out of time. There is no better time than now to pause and ask ourselves if we’re listening to the voice of the One inviting us to live in the Kingdom… or if we’re so consumed with our tasks that we hadn’t even noticed what’s playing.
Jesus, open my ears, stir my spirit, and lead me toward your Kingdom today.