Listening and Asking
Ask my mom to recall one of her scariest instances in her time of parenting, and there’s a good chance she’ll tell you about a fun little game I concocted while we would shop in department stores. The object of the game was for me to try to hide as stealthily as possible from my parents. A particular favorite hiding spot soon became the center of the circular clothing racks, where I could not only hide quite nicely, but also giddily watch as my parents began to freak out over not being able to find me. Being a parent now myself, I’d like to go back in time and give my younger self a good, firm talking to about how wrong it is to scare mommy and daddy like that.
Jesus’ parents faced a similar panic when he was around 12 years old, except they lost him for a full three days. I don’t know about you, but the mere thought of losing my child for three days is enough to buy two leashes and strap my children to my arms at all times. Here’s what they found when they finally came upon him:
“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.”
– Luke 2:46
I love that there are things for us to learn from even a 12 year old Jesus. The verse states that He was both listening and asking. Listening and asking. Could it be that He was leading by example for all of us even as a tween? Listening and asking. Are you engaging in both of those exercises when you encounter others and when you’re approaching God? It won’t work to just ask. People will feel uncomfortable if you’re constantly forcing details from them and offering none in exchange. God is not just a cosmic Santa Claus who we can run to with all our requests only to run away before He speaks to and answers us. Only listening won’t work either. For people, they need you to ask about them, to make them believe that you are truly interested in the details of their lives and that you care. With God, you need to ask in order to receive. Scripture says that we “…have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2).
Listening and asking. Both important, both necessary. Follow Christ’s example today and practice them both in your interactions with God and others. He showed us how to live, now let’s follow Him.