Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Matthew 16: 8-11
Years ago, a new friend and I walked near the married couples’ apartments on our college campus. The drapes were open in one of the apartments, and we peered in.
The guy I was with looked at me and said, “Someday, I want one of those.” I gulped, taking a sharp breath as I saw a toddler climb onto the couch near the window. I thought, I’m ditching this guy as soon as we get to class. “A kid? I’m not so into kids,” I politely said. “Oh, I wasn’t talking about the kid,” he laughed. “I was admiring their giant fish tank.”
We later married, and this story went down in infamy at our house as one of many misunderstandings throughout our life together.
In the above scripture, the disciples misunderstood as Jesus warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their minds immediately went to bread after hearing Him say “yeast.” So the disciples tried to figure out where their next meal was coming from, the irony being that Jesus had performed the miracle of feeding four thousand a few days earlier. I can visualize the disciples pushing, poking, and arguing as they circle around to hear His words. Finally, Jesus shakes his head and perhaps laughs as he says, “Oh, you of little faith.”
I have often been accused of living in my head. This causes distraction, and I need to have people repeat what they say. My lack of focus creates conflict and sometimes misunderstanding. God faithfully continues to teach me different ways to improve my listening skills.
Making eye contact with the fish-tank guy helps me to focus, and long road trips together make for uninterrupted, fruitful conversations. Listening to spirit-filled podcasts, reading books, and listening to Christian music, help me to get out of my head-space. Above even the worthy noise in this world, I want to hear what God’s voice is saying moment by moment, day by day, year after year.
Thank you, God, for your guidance and help to be a better listener.
Do you long to hear God’s voice more clearly, too? Here are some ways that help me:
- Prioritize your time with Him
- Underline, write in the margins, or highlight in your Bible
- Journal your thoughts and prayers
- Listen to worship music
Grab your printout if you did that yesterday or your Bible, and mark all the repeated words and note contrasts.