I often get invited to teach and to preach. I just spent the last three days coaching a young pastor in a church planting project that he is leading. That involved a lot of talking. Most of the time, I meet with people for various reasons. Talking is part of my job. And it’s vital to all my personal relationships, too. So I talk, and talk, and talk some more.
The danger to being a “talker” is it’s easy not to be a “listener.” I might be engaged in a conversation with somebody else, but if I were a true-blue talker, I would already be thinking of what to say next while the other person is still speaking. I am not really listening. In fact, I am really not concerned about what the other person has to say. Even in prayer, we jump right in and talk and give God a list of what we want. We fail to keep quiet and listen to what God has to say.
So, this quote by Will Rogers, a cowboy born in the US in 1879, is a reminder to talkers like me: “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” I am sure you’ve been in situations where you wished you simply kept quiet, right? You could have avoided so much hurt or misunderstanding if you just restrained yourself from saying the first thing that came to your mind. This calls for discernment and self-control. The Bible says:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19).
Therefore, this week, I encourage all of us to intentionally grow in the discipline of listening. “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” Why? It’s because listening prepares us to genuinely care for and love the people we are with. Why? Because the Lord commanded us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
I’ll shut up now.
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