We have so many tools designed to amplify our voices. We can shout louder, be heard by more people than ever before. Your status update, your tweet can be seen and shared by hundreds of people. You’re reading a blog right now that I’ve promoted through email and social media. In fact, that’s probably how you got here. Before it’s all said and done, it’s entirely possible that a thousand other people will land on this page and read these words.
A thousand people. Not once in my life have I ever talked to that many people at once, and yet thanks to social media, it happens pretty regularly online.
Granted, a thousand people is small potatoes compared to sites that measure their hits in terms of hundreds of thousands or millions, but the point is, I’m equipped to make so much more noise than I ever could on my own.
So are you. We all are. We live in an age of unparalleled noise-making potential. With a single click, you can share the pancakes you made for breakfast with the entire world, and people do that all the time. (Welcome to the future. We might not have flying cars, but we do have Instagram, and that counts for something, I guess.)
Here’s the problem: Our capacity for listening hasn’t increased alongside our capacity for making noise. There are 7.4 billion people living in this world of ours, and a huge number of them have access to the digital equivalent of a megaphone. That’s quite the racket. It’s also quite a lot of #pancakes.
We can’t hear it all. It’s impossible. You can shout at 7 billion people, but you’re not equipped to make sense of 7 billion people shouting back. None of us are.
In the middle of all our noise-making, are we making the effort to listen? To stop producing sound—just for a moment—and make sure we’re hearing what we need to hear?
Peter told Christ, “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). And so He does. But it’s easy to lose those words in the constant hum of a billion megaphones, especially if one of those megaphones is us.
James wrote, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19), and those words have never carried more weight than they do today. There’s nothing wrong with making some noise—I have nothing against #pancakes or pictures of them—but there’s a reason the Bible reminds us to open our ears more than our mouths.
God has the words of life. If we don’t make the time to listen, we’ll be the ones missing out. Better to follow Samuel’s example—setting aside time to tell God, “Speak, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10).
#pancakes can wait.
Until next time,