Speak, for Your Servant Is Listening
by Laura MacCorkle
“Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!”
Matthew 11:15, NLT
I don’t have a smartphone. There, I said it.
Now I’m nowhere near being a Luddite. But neither am I a new technology junkie. I’d classify myself as somewhere in between. So when my mobile phone carrier requires me to upgrade, then I will. Until that time, I still enjoy having face-to-face conversations, living further away from the tyranny of the urgent and being less accessible.
My personal preferences are probably why I’ve also enjoyed reading Almost Amish, a new book by Nancy Sleeth with an intriguing tagline that reads: “One woman’s quest for a slower, simpler, more sustainable life.”
Now Sleeth isn’t trying to convince any of us to become Amish—nor to embrace everything this people group believes and does. She is merely sharing what she has learned and observed. The Amish exist in a world that is very intentional. They don’t text, some don’t drive and their lifestyle is basically calmer, slower and more focused.
At the same time, I’ve also been reading in 1 Samuel in my daily Bible readings. And I couldn’t help but relate some of the Amish lifestyle principles to what I gleaned from young Samuel’s experience when he heard from the Lord in the third chapter:
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Granted, you and I don’t live in the temple in Old Testament times. But as believers in Christ, we are daily in God’s presence, are we not?
I think it’s interesting to note that Samuel was “lying down” or resting when he heard from the Lord. He was in a state where his surroundings were calm, peaceful and open to receiving divine guidance and direction. In our world today, are we living in life spaces where we can say the same? Or have our choices led to cluttering our lives with so many things, activities, people or “noise” that we have chosen for ourselves to “hear”? And as a result do we have trouble hearing from the Lord?
It’s something to think about as we make even the seemingly smallest of choices in our lives each and every day. Not everything “new” or “improved” or “latest” or “greatest” is always ultimately for our good. Perhaps we need to slow down and consider simplifying our “worlds” in order to hear from the Lord, so that we may be ready to answer: “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Intersecting Faith & Life: Fill in the blank: If I had to go a week without __________, I would _________. Now trying going without whatever that is for a week, and see what happens.
1 Kings 19:11-12, NIV
1 John 4:1, NLT
James 4:8, MSG