18 “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” Luke 8:18 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
Three summers ago I was at a huge summer Christian conference with our youth group. We were attending a morning session in the auditorium of a private university which was packed to capacity. Sitting behind me was a group of teenage girls who were fixated on their handheld electronic devices—twittering and texting, whispering and web-surfing.
The speaker that morning was a missionary who labored in an Asian country for a ministry called “Rapha House.” The Rapha House was established to help young women who had become enslaved in the horrible world of sexual trafficking. The missionary told how the Rapha House worked tirelessly to deliver the young prostitutes from the men who kept them in slavery. The girls were given a home at Rapha House. They were taught a trade at Rapha House. Most of all, they learned the gospel of Jesus at Rapha House.
The sermon was very inspiring and informative. As the missionary was leaving the platform, the crowd gave her a stirring round of applause.
Realizing that the sermon was over, one of the teenage girls behind me looked up from her iPhone (where she was updating her Facebook page.) She turned to her friend next to her and asked a riveting question that still reverberates in my ears. She said, “Now why did the missionary say she was taking all the hookers to Waffle House?”
Now, being a preacher, I probably should have been appalled at the girl’s lack of comprehension and insight. But for some reason, her question struck me as being excruciatingly funny. Waffle House? (And my mind began to spin off on all sorts of ludicrous tangents….)
For instance, can you imagine the conclusion of the missionary’s street preaching? “Girls, come with me. You can leave this horrid lifestyle far behind you. I’m taking you to a place where you can have your hash browns scattered-smothered-covered-chunked-and- topped!”
Or, what if The Police wrote a song about it? Can’t you just hear Sting singing:
You don’t have to turn on the red light.
Come and order the ‘All-Star Breakfast’
You don’t have to sell your body to the night….”
Now I realize I am being silly and over-the-top. But I think we can see an important lesson here. It’s important for God’s people to listen. In our present culture, each new day brings about something new that screams for our attention. We deceive ourselves when we describe our constant distraction by the nicer-sounding label of “multi-tasking”. The truth is that when we do two things at once, one task is usually neglected. And sadly enough, the task that has eternal consequences will probably be the one that falls by the wayside.
In today’s Scripture lesson (at the top), Jesus tells us to be careful how we listen. He says that “how will hear” will determine our destination and reward when we see Him on the last day. Ask Him to help you refocus your attention this week, that you can hear the voice of our Saviour and the words of those around you who need your encouragement.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher’s family loves to stop at Waffle House, even if they don’t see any missionaries there.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.