Are You A Good Listener

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Are You A Good ListenerPeople just want to be heard.  Regardless of your line of work or profession, they want you to listen to them and care about what’s important to them.  I was assisting a man with a practical need yesterday.  Though his need was material, his greater need was to talk…for two hours…and for me to simply listen to his story, his life, and his heart.  So I stopped what I was doing.  He became my “ministry” for that moment in time.

This would often bear itself out as I worked in the auto industry part-time in recent years.  It seemed that the thing that really determined where a person bought a car was the dealership willing to “hear out” the customer/client.  I sought to be that caring, listening ear.  Those in sales for any length of time have found that a handsome income can be earned by those willing to carefully listen to the client.  This is true in nearly every profession, not just those connected to sales.  (Products and prices are often either identical or very similar in most industries.  The separating factor is sometimes the simple, yet overlooked fact that people want you to care about them as people.)  My late father was a pastor.  He seemed to draw a crowd wherever he went.  I attribute this not to the “Rev.” in front of his name, but to the care and attentive way he dealt with everyone.  This quality is magnet-like in effect.

“Laugh with those who laugh; cry with those who cry.” Romans 12:15

Sheriff Andy Taylor of The Andy Griffith Show was such a magnet.  He always found a way to hear someone’s heart.  Whether it was listening to Barney’s insecurities and need to be a big shot, Aunt Bee’s fear that she wasn’t a good-enough cook, or dealing with someone else in Mayberry with some disturbing issue, Andy always looked beyond what people said and listened to what they truly needed.  It wasn’t some special intuition as much as it was his deep desire to identify the person’s real need by listening to their heart.  Thus, he was more than a sheriff; he was the city rock, the stable and steadying force to whom literally everyone looked for direction and truth.  That is impact in its truest form.  It requires at least three gifts:  time, intentionality and care for others in the workplace. 

You don’t have to give any of these three gifts to your colleagues or coworkers today.  You do, though, if you want to build relationships and be someone involved in Kingdom work.  Before the Lord can use you and me as change agent for life-transformation, we will need to give these gifts to those in our work contexts, and why not?  It makes work much more fun, meaningful, and eternal in scope.  It is also our biblical, workplace call.  So take interest in others:  laugh with them and cry with them.  You may or may not be the sheriff, but like Andy, have a great day listening to others and being a part of their world!  The results may surprise you!

David Cox

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