Monday, May 15, 2017

MAY 14 "SELECTIVE LISTENING"

I don't know maybe it's just me, but I can relate to Saul in this story.  I possess all the negative traits that Saul displays in this text, how about you? We are all prone, if we will be honest, to selective listening and partial obedience. Authority, Headship, they are not merely there for "window dressing" as the expression goes. We can become too familiar with authority and become wise in our own eyes, as the years pass on. Never would Saul have argued with Samuel, in the beginning! Never! And never would Saul have thought that "Samuel's way was 100% percent, the best way!".  Saul is even at the point where he begins to argue with Samuel, "that He did do what He was told" and what Saul is really saying here is "I did do what I was told, that was utmost necessary, at least in my opinion. I defeated the Amalekites. The rest, about not keeping the plunder, killing everyone, not so sure about that, to be honest". How many times have I been given explicit instructions on what to do and then I filtered through those instructions and weeded out what I may not have necessarily agreed with; and followed through on the rest. As a Leader, I myself find it very frustrating when I give explicit directions to someone only to have them listen and obey to the parts they felt most important and leave the rest undone or done, but done differently that my instructions.  It seems the longer we are around The Church & Ministry, the more likely we are to become "wise in our own eyes". It's not the young Christians arguing with the Pastor or causing church splits, it's the Christians that have been around now for a while and now know a thing or two. That same Pastor/Leader that we used to think was the wisest man in the world, now that same man, is not so wise in our eyes and we, of course, have become much wiser. If we will be honest, it is hard to fully (100%) listen to another man, once we have been around for a while. We, over the years become more confident and secure in ourselves, form our own opinions, have our own ideas and when we are now told to do something, in a way that we don't necessarily agree with, it is hard to fully obey. Early on, the thought of not agreeing, was not a thought! Now, as the years go by, it is actually quite common. So what do you do? Saul does as we would have done, he does what is for sure, the main instruction, "destroy the Amalekites" and picks and chooses the rest of what he will follow according to his own opinion. "Obviously destroy the Amalekites, I agree with that, by why kill all the cattle & sheep, that makes no sense, and why kill the King, that makes no sense either, it would make much more sense to bring the King back; alive, as a trophy". And had Saul brought these different view points to Samuel, and asked Samuel why, Samuel would have said, "because I say so, that's why! Is that good enough for you, Saul?" And of course Saul's answer would have been "it used to be good enough, when I was younger, but no, that's not good enough anymore!". Now I/we need an explanation and I/we need an explanation I/we agree with if I will obey". And that pretty much wraps it up right there, that is where most of us live, if we will be honest. Doesn't mean it's right (and we know it's not), doesn't mean it's excusable or we should accept it in ourselves, but that's where most of us live.  Every day, we must make a conscientious effort to obey our employers, Pastor's and Leaders. Of course we don't obey if it goes against God's Word or is dishonest, immoral etc......but disobeying, because it's not how you would do it or because you have a different opinion is wrong. Basically at the root of all this is Rebellion. The man or woman that states that he/she has no problem with rebellion is the biggest rebel in the room. We all struggle with selective listening and selective obedience, not just Saul. The problem is, the higher we are in leadership and responsibility, the graver the consequences when we don't fully obey instructions. Try to make it a point, as a subordinate, a disciple, an employee, layman, whether at work, at home or at church, to make it a point to fully obey, with no reservations (unless of course it's unethical, immoral, etc..etc..) and what a blessing you will be, to your Employer, your Pastor, your wife, your husband, your church,.........what a blessing you will be TO GOD!