Thanks for Listening

Thanks for Listening  |  John 11:40-42  |  Tamika Brown
“Mom, I heard you.” … “I KNOW you HEARD me, but are you LISTENING?!?”

This is a conversation that I feel certain any parent or guardian reading this, has had. And many of us probably can’t articulate how we know the difference, but we know that there is, in fact, a difference! We say that people hear us when whenever we are vocal, it is based on our own knowledge that we made an utterance (action). But when we say that someone is listening to us, it has more to do with them and how they are receiving what we said and ultimately causing a reaction.
Our prayer-focus this week centers on letting our actions and reactions be rooted in gratitude. In the text we find Jesus having arrived on the scene to raise Lazarus from the dead. In v.4 Jesus had proclaimed that Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death. The disciples heard; God listened.

Doubt Impedes Gratitude
Now here is where most of us would absolutely allow doubt to come in and take over. Jesus said let us go back to Judea and the disciples immediately said that it was a bad idea. Then, Martha said "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Martha heard; God listened.
Faith As An Act of Gratitude
There is an easy-to-see gratitude in the text with Lazarus being raised from the dead. But there is also another type of gratitude at play here. Faith. Belief. Even in her grief, when she learned Jesus was there, she went to him immediately because even with doubt lurking; “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”; her faith in what Jesus could do remained. Mary heard; God listened.
Gratitude Impacts Others
In v.42 Jesus states plainly that he was being performative. Going through the motions of looking to heaven and saying thank you was for the people. He had no doubt that God would come through. But in making gratitude known, we create a ripple effect. Having a posture of thanksgiving, teaches those around us to be more mindful and intentional with gratitude. “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” The people heard; God listened.
As we move through this Lenten Season and as we continue to traverse this Christian Journey, let us do our best to not simply hear, but to listen. Let us be moved to action by our faith. Let us be living examples of gratitude.
Thanks for taking the time to meditate on this devotional. Thanks for “listening”.
Prayer: God, my God. Thank you for not only hearing, but also, listening to my cries – in joy and in sorrow. Thank you for allowing me new opportunities each day to become a better listener so that I might act accordingly. Amen.
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