Listen and Follow
…by Chuck Graham
Harry and Edna owned a mountain lodge on a beautiful lake. They vowed never to leave and lived there many years. But in time changes came. By 1980, Edna had died. Harry closed the lodge to the public. And while always hating old people, he himself was now 83.
There were other changes. Something was happening. He could feel rumbling through the forest. He could see tremors on the surface of the lake. He could see rocks tumbling down the mountain. Earthquakes were occurring often…and getting stronger.
Many told him of the danger, but Harry refused to listen. He did not believe their warnings or the growing evidence. He clung to his home, the lake, and the mountain. With a stubborn desire to live his own way, Harry stayed at his lodge and would not leave.
Listening is hearing with understanding.
We may see Harry as foolish, but do we ever refuse to listen? Exercise, eat healthy, drink lots of water. Don’t worry, relax, get plenty of rest. Read the Bible, have a quiet time, pray all the time. Are you doing all of that? What?! Aren’t you listening?
Jesus placed great importance on hearing with understanding…really listening to what is being said. Repeatedly He called for those with “ears to hear” to pay attention to what He was saying. Yet often He described them as having ears but still not hearing.1
They heard what they wanted to hear—forgiveness and eternal life—but turned a deaf ear to Jesus’ commands to love each other and their enemies…to do good, bless, and pray for those who hate, curse, and mistreat others.2 Instead, they wanted to live their own way.
Going our own way is not following Jesus.
May 18, 1980. Mount St. Helens exploded with a blast equal to 1500 atomic bombs. Ash rose 15 miles into the sky and rained on land as far as 300 miles away. Heat melted 46 billion gallons of ice and snow. Mudslides plummeted down the mountain at 400 mph. The blast and debris forced the water of Spirit Lake into a wave 850 feet above normal lake level.
The majestic summit was gone, replaced with a mile-wide crater. The beautiful lake was gone, filled with 350,000 acre-feet of trees, rock, and ash. The beloved lodge was gone, covered by 150 feet of landside debris. And Harry R. Truman was gone, never to be seen again.
Harry refused to listen to the warnings. Are we any different? Jesus has also warned us. Those who love me hear my voice…obey me…follow me.3 No one comes to the Father except through me.4 Do we follow Jesus? Or do we refuse to listen, choosing to live our own way?
He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 11:15 NASU)
Take care & be God’s,
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa , an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching others how to “encourage one another as long as it is called Today!” He is also an author, speaker, teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org .
1. See Mark 8:17-19
2. See Luke 6:27-28
3. See John 10:27;14:15,24
4. John 14:6b, NIV
Banner Picture by Crystalline HFA, 1979. Picture of Harry R. Truman by George Barker.