Last week, I began writing on the issue of listening. Good listening skills are the hallmark of any effective servant-leader. In my post entitled Listening, I quoted Robert Greenleaf and Stephen Covey. Today I want to quote Jesus:"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you — and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him" (Mark 4:24-25).
Jesus regularly said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Isn't that a strange statement? Not if you apply it to the art of listening. You can sometimes hear something or someone, but you don't take the time to comprehend what you heard. You have ears, but you haven't heard.
About ten years ago, I had to face the fact that I was a poor listener. I was listening, but I was preparing my answer or response. That caused me to miss subtle and not-so-subtle meanings contained in the words and body language of those talking to me. When I determined that I wanted to be a servant-leader, I knew my listening skills had to drastically improve. I'm still working at it.
One of my strategies to improve was to ask more and better questions. That enabled me to stay focused with some measure of control while pursuing the heart of those speaking. It has worked for me, and that is why I am so intrigued with the questions that Jesus asked His followers. If I can learn from the Master-Question-Asker, they may be hope yet for me to be an effective listener and servant-leader.