JUNE 18, 2012
LISTEN!, PART 1
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19, NIV)
Among the many vignettes that make up the mural that is the U.S. Open, few were as joyfully marvelous as that of Ohio
club pro Dennis Miller.
Miller, whose moment of qualifying magic was captured in this 21-second video, had to go through the toughest field on
the planet, the sectional held in Columbus and loaded with PGA Tour pros. At the end of 36 holes, four men were tied with three spots still available. One of those spots was claimed immediately when one
of Miller’s competitors birdied the first hole. Miller himself stayed alive with a long par putt on the third playoff hole. Then came the fourth.
It was there that Miller rolled a 20-foot birdie putt toward the hole only to have it slow right to the brink of the
cup. Then stop. Long enough for Miller to turn away in anguish. Then go.
The story is this. Miller didn’t see the putt that got him into the U.S. Open fall in the hole. He had given up
on it. And then came as raucous a roar as a couple dozen fans can raise. And the sound of their elation became the sound of Miller’s own.
Golf is a game where listening is, well, possible. On a lonely afternoon on many courses around the world, you can walk
among the wind-tossed leaves and calls of this bird and that, maybe even hearing the sound of your own feet. You know the difference—by ear—between a good shot and a bad one.
But how good is your ear off the course? For we can make a strong case from Scripture that listening matters in all you
To get us started, we look to the simple, direct instructions of the apostle James. About the only thing missing from
today’s verse is the perhaps too obvious explanation that if we are quick to listen, we accomplish the other two exhortations: be slow to speak and slow to become angry. Listening, then, sets us up
for all kinds of righteousness.
But what should we be listening for?
Chiefly this: the voice of God.
You should be aware the Bible itself is “the voice of God,” inspired by him and recorded by the hands of
authors selected by his own providence. If you want to know what God is saying to you, you begin by reading the words of Scripture.
But reading is only “hearing.” Our true level of listening is proven by our response. Do we meditate on the
words, mulling them over for their application to our circumstances? Do we allow the truths to renew our minds, replacing old avenues of faithless thinking? And do we do what we the words of God
instruct? Sometimes we may find ourselves saying, “The Bible says,” or even “Ephesians 3:10 says.” But if we can keep reminding ourselves when we read the Word of God that we are
reading the words of God, we do well at moving in the direction he would have us go as those who listen to him.
Tomorrow: More on the voice of God
June 18, 2012
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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday through Friday and is archived by passage
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