Did You Hear Me?
Author: John A. Witmer
Week of February 18, 2018
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contained only 270 words and took less than three minutes to read. Lincoln had finished before the photographer with the cumbersome equipment of that day was ready to take his picture.
Alexander Woollcott suggested that few of the 15,000 in attendance heard what Lincoln said because the brief speech was over before the “arc of attention” had been fully established. They heard the words but did not really hear because their minds were not focused to understand.
What parent has not said to an inattentive child, “Did you hear what I said?” Perhaps even a wife has had that experience with her husband.
This points up the fact that two kinds of hearing exist. One is hearing the words merely as sounds that make no intelligible impression on the mind because of inattention or some other reason. The other is hearing that communicates a message to the mind and provides information or demands a response.
The soldiers who accompanied Saul of Tarsus on his journey to Damascus “heard the sound” (Acts 9:7) of Jesus speaking to Saul from heaven, but “they did not understand the voice of Him who was speaking” (22:9).
The kind of hearing that produces faith is the second kind, the kind that receives the message of God directed to that person’s mind and heart, demanding a response. That kind of hearing is heeding.
Paul indicated that that kind of “hearing the message” comes “through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). It is not enough, therefore, to say that you will live your testimony for Christ before your family, friends, and neighbors. Important as a consistent Christian life is, it must be accompanied sooner or later with the message of the Gospel in the Word of God.
A challenge: Give your witness to Christ in life and word.