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[Paul speaking to King Agrippa] "Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently."
Following graduation from college my daughter Natalie sat down with me to let me know her career choice. She had graduated from a very good university with a degree in marketing and had been recruited by a number of large firms. I was a proud father, knowing my little girl was going to have a great career with many opportunities. My only fear is she would have to move away from home to a large city like New York or San Francisco. I braced myself for the news.
Natalie began by saying, "Dad, I love you and I will always be your little girl, but I am now a woman and the decisions I make for my life and my career need to be my own." [I didn't like the way this was beginning.] She continued,"Before you say anything or give me your opinion, I need you to listen to me patiently."
In the last sentence of our passage today, Paul asks King Agrippa to listen patiently as well. Why? I think it is because there was so much history, so much tragedy, so many people who had come and gone before them, that Paul simply wanted an honest and open-minded hearing. Maybe that's all any of us want.
Natalie needed and wanted me to hear her and see her as an adult, not as a child. To be honest it forced me to do a double-take; perhaps seeing her for the first time -- all grown up. As I looked at her while she spoke passionately about her new career, I realized I had done a pretty good job of raising a fine young woman.
Maybe a close friend, or family member has voiced the words, "I beg you to listen to me patiently." Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." That would imply that knowledge and understanding follow listening. How often we forget this basic lesson. I know I am guilty sometimes of speaking before I listen. Many times I do this because I think I already know everything I need to know. I can't tell you how often my "understanding" has been changed because I listened first. Is there someone in your life who seeks to be heard? A spouse, child, or friend? Perhaps it is time to listen with renewed patience and an unbiased ear.
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Pocket Devotions are written by Mike Brooks. A retired businessman, he is Moderator of South Shores church, leads the Deacon Board, serves on the finance committee, and he teaches a Men's Bible study and the Men's Ministry. Mike has a passion for evangelical missions. He is the husband of Sherry; the father of Ryan, Natalie, Krissy, Rebecca, and Amanda; the father-in-law of Ariel; and the grandfather of Conner and Christian.