This is my beloved Son. Listen to him. – Mark 9:7
All universities have their rules, and TCU was no exception. When I moved into Pete Wright dorm we had a meeting with the dorm council specifically to cover all the numerous rules. They were predictable: no alcoholic beverages on campus, no girls in the dorm rooms, no pets with feathers, fur, scales, etc. There were dozens of rules, each with a dozen more qualifications to make it more specific and less interesting.
When I moved “Allie” into my room to live in the cut-up refrigerator box, the dorm council was not pleased. But there was nothing they could say. “Allie Gator” was an excellent pet. Besides, he didn’t have feathers, fur, or scales and therefore was completely within the rules. Because his box had a dish pan pond, rocks, sand, a sun lamp, and even a fake palm tree, he occasionally would move around enough to get them stacked in the corner and escape. I’d later find him under the bed or walking down the hall. Once I found him across the hall in the shower with some anxious bathers. Normally though, I tried to keep Allie away from people because he liked to bite nimble fingers. Although he was averaging two to three finger snappings a day, he mostly was harmless and liked to be left alone or have his soft belly stroked until he fell asleep. Because Allie liked to snap at fingers and usually caught them, I finally put a sign on his box that read "BEWARE, SNAPPING GATOR!” The sign simply served to teach me something about people – they never listen.
Life has continued to prove this lesson true. At a zoo people are always feeding the animals regardless of the many "Don’t Feed" signs. And there is nothing harder to walk away from than a sign that says "Wet Paint." Something about it makes us have to touch it to be sure. We don’t want to trust the words. We don’t to listen to the message.
It is a wonder that we, who call ourselves ministers, suffer from an occupational hazard – we repeat ourselves. We feel our message to be of utmost importance and fear we are not fully heard. So we rephrase out vital thought and say it again in hopes it will be heard this time.
Sunday is upon us again, the day of worship. In a way, I hate to see it arrive. I’m afraid for worship days. I fear that those who need to hear of Christ’s coming into the world the most will actually be the least conscious of His message. In Mark’s Gospel the voice of God is recorded as saying, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” I fear that we who hear so often, really listen seldom. I’m afraid for this Sunday. Like the sign on Allie’s box, I’m afraid it will go unnoticed.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, if I have heard of your Word so often and truly listened so seldom that I no longer hear.