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::Devotional:: ‘Be Worth Listening To’

December 3, 2009

My wife and I watched a movie the other night called Midnight Clear and it was a descent film.  At one point in the movie a senior pastor is advising a youth pastor who is complaining about his struggles in connecting with the youth.  “They just don’t seem to want to listen to me” he says.  Then the pastor shoots a one-liner piece of advice to him that resonated loud and clear in my ears.  He said, “if you want them to listen to you then be worth listening to.”  That’s great advice no matter who you are don’t you think?

In the book of Luke, the birth of John the Baptist is detailed right along with the birth of Christ.  It is probably often overlooked because the “Christmas Story” begins in chapter 2 and all that surrounds John’s birth happens in chapter 1.  There’s some interesting things surrounding John’s birth, especially when it comes to his father Zechariah.

Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were well along in their years and had not been able to have children because she was barren.  When the archangel Gabriel came to Zechariah he told him that Elizabeth would become pregnant and that they she would give birth to a son they were to name John.  Zechariah’s response was rooted in disbelief, although I don’t know that any of us would have responded any differently had we been there.

How can I be sure of this?  I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.  Luke 1:18

Gabriel’s response was swift.

I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.  And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.  Luke 1:19-20

Zechariah became mute, unable to speak, and after laying with his wife Elizabeth she became pregnant.  When the time came for her to deliver the baby, not only did they name him John as they had been told, but the Lord granted Zechariah’s speech back to him. 

I can’t imagine the desire he would have had as a father to shout from the mountain tops about the miraculous conception and birth of his son John, yet at the same time he was only able to speak through signs and writing tablets.  I liken that to a reservoir of water trickling through a small hole in the dam.  But God was gracious and gave Zechariah the opportunity to speak and speak he did.

Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God.  The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.  Luke 1:64-65

I spend a lot of time talking about a lot of different things during the course of the day.  I’d like to be able to say that everything that comes from my mouth is worth listening to, but I’m not foolish enough to say or believe that.  Zechariah could have said many different things when he was able to speak again, yet he chose to spend his words in praise to God, and people listened.  Why?  Because what he had to say was worth listening to.

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.  Psalm 34:1-3

Lord help us today to carry your praise upon our lips and to exalt your name above all.  Help us to be worth listening to.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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