Listen and Be Wise

One of my big assignments for seminary this fall is to read through the entire Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible as my prof calls it. I've known about this assignment for a while and have really been looking forward to it. The first section he starts us off with is the wisdom literature, mainly because it is largely without context, therefore hard to fit into the chronological study of the rest of the Hebrew Bible. So, today I started with Proverbs. What an amazing book. If you have read Proverbs recently, you would have noticed the recurring characters Wisdom and Fool. While there are many things that characterize them both, one they have in common is listening. Wisdom calls others to hear her. She urges us to listen, to give our ears, to devote our minds leading to changed actions. Fool doesn't listen. The words are there for him, but he never picks them up. This truth was very accurately illustrated as I rode my bike this morning, listening to Proverbs being read through my headphones.

As I was "listening" to these words of wisdom, I rode past many college students wandering to and from class. We live near the campus of Eastern Illinois University, and I travel near or through the campus several times a day. Almost every college student had headphones in. Most were multitasking with the headphone, texting, and trying not to walk into someone else combo. Some were successful, others not so much. I only had to ring my bike bell once to avoid a collision with a swerving walker/headphoner/texter (texwalkaphoner?). These students were in their own little world, missing what was going on around them.

Contrast that to my little girls. At the end of our ride I removed my heaphones (I know, I'm a hypocrite) after listening through half of Proverbs. Not once had the girls complained while riding in our little carriage about not having a video game or not having their attention occupied. They were enjoying God's creation, and said as much when we were at the park. They loved the wind in their hair, the sunshine, and seeing all the people. Trinity loved how the wind blew her hair on the swing and Selah even found a praying mantis crawling around on the slide.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love headphones and being able to multitask. It makes mowing the lawn and riding my bike very enjoyable. But, like most things, there is a time a place. Will we take a note from Wisdom and listen, not just to words, but to what is going on all around us? God has created an amazing world that can be enjoyed with all our senses. Today I took notice of this and I am so grateful that God brought it to my attention.


  1. I love your reflections on being an attentive listener. And I love the sweet morning you had with our girls. Miss you.


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