By WALTER ALBRITTON
Dozens of football players are on the practice field exercising. They are talking to each other. Suddenly they hear a loud voice saying, “Listen up!” It’s the coach asking for their attention. The players gather around their coach to listen to his directions. Their success as a team depends on how well they listen to the coach.
Jesus told parables to crowds of people. There was a life lesson in each parable, but Jesus left it up to the people to discern the lesson. He often concluded by saying, “Let anyone with ears listen!” Afterward, he would explain to his disciples the parable’s lesson. On one occasion he quoted the Prophet Isaiah who explained that though many people have eyes, they do not see, and “though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”
There is a real sense in which Coach Jesus, now the Living Christ, is saying to our broken world, “Listen up! You have ears; use them and listen to me.” That brings me to an important question: If you are willing to listen, in these days, can you really hear Jesus speaking?
Those who have read the Bible know the Living Christ spoke to his disciples, and to Saint Paul, many times. And the early church grew because the disciples listened and followed his directions. Christian history, of course, is full of stories about people who were listening when Jesus spoke to them about his will for their lives. But does Jesus speak to people today?
Yes, I know He does because He spoke to me this morning. He said, “I know you are weak because of your age, but I’m glad you are not complaining. I am going to give you a new body before long, so just be patient. I gave you the strength to serve me yesterday, and I am giving you the strength to serve me today. I am taking care of the birds feeding outside your window, and I will take care of you. Don’t give in to worrying. Keep trusting me to give you the power to love herding people into the Kingdom. Don’t be afraid of anything because I am with you.” I was so happy I wanted to dance around the room, but my legs were not up to it.
Sunday, I worshipped with friends who celebrated the work of Coralie McDavid, a woman who is 95 years young. For the past seven years, she had prepared food, literally thousands of meals, for the poor who enjoy daily a hot meal at Mercy House in west Montgomery. Jesus gave her a team of “angels” who have, with love, helped her cook a truckload of good food.
In expressing her gratitude for being honored, Coralie explained that when she heard about the need at Mercy House, she began praying, and all she could hear were three words, repeated over and over, “Feed my sheep.” That, of course, was Jesus speaking. Coralie was listening. And she began cooking and delivering food. Those of us hearing her knew we were listening to a woman to whom Jesus had spoken. As surely as He had spoken to Saint Paul, He had also spoken to Coralie.
Jesus spoke to me when I was 17. He said, “I want you to be one of my preachers.” I said, “Lord, I know how to clean a chicken house. I know how to feed slop to hogs. I know how to milk cows. But I don’t know how to preach. Are you sure you want me to be a preacher?” He replied, “Walter, all you need to do is say yes, and I will take care of the rest. Trust me.” I believed Him, said yes, and now I have been preaching for 72 years, though I am still learning how to preach.
What is Jesus saying to you? Whatever it is, just say yes and trust Him. Believe me, He will take care of the rest. Listen up now!