Sometimes people take quietness for weakness when in fact it is our strength. For if we are always talking we leave no room for listening. Only by listening for the Word are we able to hear. Consider my meditation O Lord, then guide me in the way that I should go. Allow my choices to be lessons for the journey, that I may grow to feed someone else along the way.
I’ve heard it said that if you don’t understand an introvert you are probably not asking enough questions and if you don’t understand an extrovert you are probably not listening enough. I may be wrong but I like to think that Jesus was an introvert drawing his energy from the Spirit of God that was within him and an extrovert because he longed to be among his people. He drew energy from the crowds of believers and and although quite tactical, never shied away from the non-believers. If Jesus took a Myers-Briggs I think he’d start out dead center and depending on who or what he was dealing with could be found anywhere on the grid! According to Myers-Briggs we tend not to be so flexible. We have behavioral preferences and tend to cling to them rather tightly. Perhaps because of this every now and then we find our selves moving in directions we didn’t think we’d be going. We find that our works are not reflecting the person that we are. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t do our very best to be who God created us to be, if we remember to ask questions and balance them with patiently listening, the intro-extrovert will meet us where we are and guide us in the way God wants us to go and be who God calls us to be.
But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. Galatians 2:11-21
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Matthew 3:1-6 Perhaps today we might see John as a modern day street preacher, the ones we often ignore; treating them as invisible, because we’ve got things to do and places to go. Like John they are hardly dressed the part (by the world’s standard) of a spokesperson for God. If they’re spending their days on the street, there’s a good chance they’re without a true home where they get a regular meal. One day (admittedly from a distance), I stopped to listen to a gentleman screaming at the top of his lungs outside of a busy rail station. “God loves you!” “Make your paths straight!” “Jesus Christ died for your sins!” “Seek Him!” “Repent!” “Find your strength in the Lord!” The voice of one crying out in the wilderness of a busy world with chapter and verse, had much to proclaim, and never asked for anything, except perhaps a listening ear. His messages were quick but more importantly they were true. From that brief experience I always remind myself that when I think God is silent, it could be that I may have stopped listening.
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The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens – wakens my ear to listen… (Isaiah 50:4) A power scripture to begin the month for those touched by God on the journey that seeks truth. To live is to die, but to die is to gain more of what the spiritual life in Christ has to offer. For like the prophets God touches the mouth and like the disciples God touches the hands that reach out towards the anointed hearts yearning to hear what the Spirit is saying to its own and we – we must listen like the one who is taught and set our face as one already redeemed, reconciled and vindicated. In spite of everything along the path God is steadfast in his promises.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backwards.
I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.
The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
All of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up. (Isaiah 50:5-10)
After this he went out and saw a tax-collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up, left everything, and followed him. Luke 5:27-39
What made Levi leave his livelihood? Physically, Levi wasn’t a broken man. In fact he was rather well off, having the resources to throw Jesus a great banquet in his home. Perhaps we should all have such resources, except that our resources have nothing to do with who or why God calls us to follow him. So, how is it that Christ can affect the lives of both fisherman and tax collectors? Perhaps the answer, is in that with which we choose to struggle and alternatively, that which we choose to yield or give in to. Clearly, God sees what we can not see when seeking out his own. Christ himself says that he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out; “I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:1-16). In the physical life we choose to live, there are highs as well as periods of struggle when the pressure of expectation to produce and provide overwhelms us. But Christ doesn’t necessarily call us out of the physical life. Instead Christ calls us into the Spiritual life, a consciousness that leads us toward a greater presence with God. As the Holy Spirit is eternal, the Good News is that God is always calling us. What remains is whether we choose to follow or choose to ignore it and go our own way.