I rattled the dish, ever so quietly – and Denver came running over, thinking it was time to be fed. This little puppy devours his food in a matter of seconds, with what seems like one gulp. The slightest crumpling of a bag or rattling of a dish sends him into a whirlwind. He responds immediately, almost running over himself to get to the food.
At other times, I can call loudly for him to come to me. I can also look at him and tell him “no”,… don’t eat my boot, (you see him listening so well in the picture as he is chomping on my boot).. or the computer wire, or the chair, or my ear….and he suddenly becomes deaf. Granted, he is only nine weeks old and still untrained, but I am quite sure his hearing is fine. It’s not that he can’t hear me, or connect that the word “no” has repercussions associated with it. At this point, in his immature state, it seems he hears only what he wants to hear. We are teaching him basic commands as quickly as possible, for his own safety (and our sanity). I thought about how easy it is for us as humans to hear “conveniently”, as Denver does.
Think of things you are eager to hear. You may await a certain phone call, or thrill at the sound of a child or grandchild as they utter their first words. I thought about times I have been quite eager to hear good news of someone’s safe arrival, or to hear the voice of a loved one.
I ask myself how eager I am to hear the words of my God. Do I strain in eager anticipation in order to hear them, or do I merely listen “at my convenience”? The answer can be found in my daily habits. Do I eagerly open pages of my Bible, (or open Bible applications on my computer)? Do I really want to hear what he has to say to me? Or, will I glance through the Bible at my leisure- at my convenience.
What keeps us from eagerly listening for and hearing the words of God? What causes us to stumble over them – and not take them to heart. There can be various reasons, but perhaps the most common is what I observe with my puppy. He is so busy doing what he wants to do, he doesn’t care to listen.
1 Peter 2:8b
They stumble because they disobey the message—
It’s easy to be careless with listening…and it’s easy to stumble with the scriptures – when we don’t want to do what they say. That’s like Denver, when he doesn’t want to obey. Yet sometimes, unfortunately, it can be like me. I am always sobered by the scripture in Hebrews 2:1-3
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment,  how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.
Listen carefully…..what do you hear?
I often think about “listening” when it comes to my 2nd grade students. Thanks for reminding me to apply it to myself.