Last night, as Janet and I were returning from dinner, we stopped by the reservation desk to find out about checking out early due to impending bad weather in the midwest. The front desk supervisor, Shelley, was most helpful and we made arrangements to head out a day early – on Thursday rather than Friday as we were originally scheduled. After we finished conducting our business, we stopped by the snack shop to pick up a late night cookie and several cups of coffee. We went back to the elevator to return to our room on the fourth floor. Anyway, Janet pushed the button and when the elevator arrived, another couple got off and just because of the way we all were standing, the door started to close before Janet and I had the chance to get on. It was quite a sight, I am sure.
Anyway, I had cups of coffee in both hands, so I called out to Janet to “hold the door.” She was in an awkward position and I saw her slide her hand in front of me, trying to pull back on the door to keep it from closing. Of course, I never thought that she would really try to hold the door open, but at most I thought she would attempt to touch the reversing strip on the edge of the door. That’s not what happened. I finally yelled at her to let go – I was afraid that her hand was going to be crushed, as the door was already almost completely closed. I think that she was completely unaware of how close she had come to really getting hurt. For a moment, the thought flashed through my mind was that she had taken a foolish risk – but she didn’t see it that way. She was trying to honor my request. Janet pulled her hand out, but then turned to me and said “you told me to hold the door open.”
Now technically she was correct, but I didn’t mean it literally. I meant, “try to push the button to keep the door from closing,” but it didn’t come out that way. It was kind of weird. In a way, I was really upset because she could have been hurt. On the other hand, there was such blind commitment on her part to do what I asked her to do, and I never thought that she would put herself in danger. I just stood there on the way up to the room thinking about what had just happened. Did you ever do that? Rehash in your brain some event that had just happened – or replay it in your mind? Well, I did that last night.
It occurred to me that many times we use “shorthand” language to speak with one another. Did you ever hear a department store recording inform you to “dial 4 for customer service”, or words to that effect. What they really meant was for you to “touch” or “push” the button unless you were really using one of those old rotary dial telephones. Then there was even the famous story about Eddie Murphy riding up to his suite in a Las Vegas hotel when an old lady got on and just stood there. Murphy apparently told her to “hit the floor.” She immediately thought she was being mugged, so she dropped to the floor face down and just laid there. Murphy, laughing with his friends, said he meant that she should choose a floor to get off. She got up off the floor and was more than a little embarrassed. Nonetheless, it was a mis-communication, just like the one I had with Janet last night!
Sometimes that happens in our relationship with God. Maybe we just don’t want to hear what He is saying to us, or perhaps we are not listening because we don’t want to do what we know He wants us to do. Or maybe we weren’t expecting God to speak to us in a way that could almost be audible. But the good thing about our relationship with God is that we can always go to the Bible to find out what He is saying to us. Because the Bible is the inspired Word of God. True, it was written by men, but through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the Bible itself, we find many stories of Jesus speaking with people and trying to get them to listen to His teaching. Many folks just didn’t get it. In fact, even the disciples didn’t know what to expect concerning the death and resurrection of Christ, even though Jesus told them in advance.
It’s really important to listen to the whispers of God. Whether it be through other people, or through the pages of the Bible, if God is speaking to you, it is really important. So don’t get your signals crossed. God is a much better communicator than you or I can possibly imagine. He doesn’t make mistakes or talk in “shorthand” or double speak. The verse for tonight comes from Mark 7:14, “Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.” Get it? What Jesus has to say is important.
My encouragement tonight is to let you know that the God of the universe has special things He wants you to hear. Make no mistake about it – and my prayer is that you will listen with more intent and with a greater sense of obedience to what He has to say. After all, He’s the greatest communicator of them all…… Grace and peace,