Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.
Quotation: Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.
We all know that the book of Proverbs is known as one of the books of wisdom in the bible. It is also a teaching of a father to his son, showing him the two paths available to him: the path that leads to life, and the path that leads to death. And the wisdom he would get comes first from listening, it’s no wonder that the book keeps on repeating, “Listen, my son(s) to your (a) father’s instruction…” (Prov. 1:8, 4:1), “My son, if you accept my word…” (2:1), “My son, do not forget my teaching…”(3:1), “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words…” (4:20), “My son, pay attention to my wisdom…” (5:1). these are just some of the passages that show how important listening is in gaining wisdom.
Same is true with growing in the area that God had called you, listening is very important.
First, you have to listen to yourself. You have to know from within what you are passionate about. Your passion is something that God has placed in your heart and normally it is connected to where you are called. It is something that you have to discover and pay attention to. It’s only when you do what you love to do, that work is no longer work at but rather an expression of God’s passion in you. No wonder you don’t get stuck but continues to grow when you do what you are passionate about. Remember Tatay Ete? The farmer who became a preserver of biodiversity in his community, his passion is plants, trees and flowers and that’s why he doesn’t tire of studying and learning everything in order to preserve them. At age 62, he looks ten to fifteen years younger and he is so enthusiastic in what he is doing. (kindly see his picture). He said that in farming its normal to get tired but when he is tired he just hugs the trees in his farm and he would get recharged again.
Second, listen to others. By listening to others you become aware of the needs where your passion can be of best use. Normally the door to your calling is the place where your passion and a need meet. Some people know their passion but they don’t know where to express it. That passion can become contribution only when we become more aware of the need outside. Keep listening…and you will find where you can devote your passion. Again in the story of Tatay Ete, he listened to people he met: the environmentalists, the mountain climbers, by attending seminars about biodiversity. The vision where he could be of great help and where he could work with his passion became clearer to him each time he listened and learned. He is now happily devoting himself into it and without even meaning to, he has become an inspiration to many. The doors of opportunity just keep on opening up to him that there is no other way but to keep on moving forward. According to him, while Liptong Woodland is a living proof of his contribution to environmental protection, much is yet to be done to further spread the news that the earth still needs more trees to continue surviving.
Listening is the key to much of learning. As Larry King said, “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” Listening to others will help you learn a lot. Tatay Ete got his learning not only from reading but he was open to learning from others. He used to be practicing kaingin or the so called slash and burn type of farming but when some of the environmentalist he met told him that it was not good, he began to change and learned more from them on how to take care of his environment. He also learned from listening to the way of the trees, plants and flower behaviors. One of the trees he planted that is endemic in the Philippines is a giant palm tree, whose trunk is so hard that in the past that’s what they use to make hunting tools. But one of the things he discovered about this tree is that when it begins to flower it is ready to die. The flowers mean seeds are now available to reproduce, so it is ready to go. It happens around the 15th year of the tree. He realized that even trees think of what they could leave behind before dying. Isn’t that a good lesson for life? Even a tree thinks of its legacy. Shouldn’t we also?
Last but not the least, always listen to God. John 15:5 says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” In Proverbs 16:9 “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” He alone knows what is best for us. So we better keep our full attention to what He wants for us. This is what Kinami Maruge learned and wanted in his life. Maruge was known as the oldest student in the primary school in Kenya because he was already 88 years old when he enrolled in the first grade in primary school. But what motivated him to do so you can see it here in this short video.
Friends, God speaks and He is much willing to reveal his plans for you. He is just waiting for us to listen and to obey. When we do, there’s no stopping what God can do with our lives.