The tapping-beetle is a tiny beetle with an interesting manner of communication. They use their rear end to tap on the ground and then feel whether a charming lady would tap in return. When there is a reply, they establish the direction and move towards each other. Man has a very complex system of communication. Vibrations (rapid movements to and fro) are produced by the vocal cords. These vibrations send waves through the air and cause the eardrum to vibrate in return. The brain analyses and interprets these as meaningful sounds. There are many people who can see lips moving and see an orchestra playing, without hearing anything. We cannot thank God enough if we are able to hear. But more important still is that we ‘hear’ the gospel correctly with our hearts. The gospel is about Jesus, the Son of God, who suffered in our place on the cross for our sins, and so reconciled us to God.
Jesus explained (Mark 4:3-9) what can happen when we hear the word of the Lord: “The sower sows God’s message. Some people are like the seeds that fall along the path; as soon as they hear the message, Satan comes and takes it away. Other people are like the seeds that fall on rocky ground. As soon as they hear the message, they receive it gladly. But it does not sink deep into them, and they don’t last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. Other people are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes. These are the ones who hear the message, but the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires crowd in and choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit. But other people are like seeds sown in good soil. They hear the message, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred fold” (Mark 4:14-20).
Imagine someone asking you to make him some coffee. You then praise him for the quality of his voice, the clarity of his words and say that it was worth listening to him. However, this means nothing if you do not get up and make the coffee. Likewise, we can listen regularly to the Word of the Lord and go no further than to say how beautiful it is. If the Word of the Lord does not spur you into action you forfeit the blessing that you could have received.
We have ears to hear the Word of the Lord, but also to listen to each other with sympathy and empathy. We have mouths to encourage others, but also to thank and praise God. Mattie Stepanek’s book “Heartsongs” was published when he was 11. In his poem “Making real sense of the senses” he writes: Our ears are for listening, / But so are our hearts. …/ Our mouths and tongues are for tasting, / But also for saying words, like / “I love you”, and / “Thank you, God, for all these things.”
Our heavenly Father, help us to hear your Word and to turn our faith into actions. Amen.