Ever go to one of those restaurants where you order and they give you a number? You order, they hand you a receipt with the number and it’s your responsibility to remember that number and wait for your number to be called. So easy a caveman could do it.
I was at my favorite burger place. This isn’t your average frozen patty, frozen fry kind of deal. This is like the real deal. Real meat! Real cheese! Real potatoes made into fries! This explains the $9 price tag, which I’m totally willing to pay.
I waited for my number to be called while checking my Instagram feed for new photos. I looked at pictures of what everyone else was having for lunch- Cauliflower nachos, granola and Avocado on toast. Then it began. I heard the cook call the number “Forty- Six”.
No one came to pick up their order. No one even got up out of their seat. He said it louder this time “NUMBER FORTY- SIX, NUMBER FORTY- SIX”. Still no one came. The rest of us looked around but no one came forward. You know that feeling you get sometimes when you’re hungry that starts to tempt you to do things you usually wouldn’t do? I had started having the conversation in my head on whether or not I should lie and say that was my number. I mean certainly there was something great in that bag number 46. I decided to be Christian-like and sat still. Number Forty- Six was officially M.I.A.
He got to number forty-seven and then forty-eight. Then out of nowhere, a woman came up to the counter and said “Did you call number forty- six?” Finally! She almost lost that order to the Christian girl who has no self-control when she’s hungry. She came up to receive her order and told the cook “Oh, I didn’t hear you!”
The cook had said her number like 8 times. He had said it in a normal volume voice, in a louder volume voice. He had said it plainly and with gusto. She had to have heard him say her number. She might have even heard him say it multiple times. The problem was that she wasn’t listening. Her ears were not full of intention waiting to hear what it was she needed to hear.
Our generation is a “sign” driven generation. When it comes to making decisions we ask God for “signs”. We ask for God to paint a picture in the sky when we walk out of our door in the morning so that we’ll know exactly what do to. We’ll ask that God speak to us in a dream or send us a letter in the mail so that we’ll get a better idea of what in the world we’re supposed to be doing. But would we hear him even if he was speaking?
Maybe God is quietly saying “Number Forty- Six” maybe he’s even shouting with gusto “Number Forty- Six” but we simply aren’t listening. What if he’s been speaking all along but we aren’t listening?
Proverbs 2:2 “Make your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.
It’s an action that we must do to correctly hear and process what God is saying. God is saying “Listen up!” Listen up to what he’s already said to us.
Proverbs 1:33 says “But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
When we intently listen, we intently trust. We intently have faith that God will reveal his words to us. How beautiful- that the God of the universe would talk to you and me. That he would care; and not only care but be extremely interested in us.
If you find yourself praying for a sign, it’s not a bad thing, but what if God has already spoken? What if he’s spoken through his son, Jesus when he was among us? There’s this passage in the Bible when a religious leader asks Jesus “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself”
That passage is one of my most favorite passages in Scripture. Not because it’s profound but because it’s simple. I think the religious leaders were expecting something a little more involved, but he says simply, plainly love.
Love God with all that you are, every part of you. Love God with your passion, Love God with your words you speak and with the thoughts you think. And then love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Seems super simple and it is simple, just not easy. Nothing easy about putting ourselves aside to put God first, others second and us last.
What if we perked up our ears and listened to that commandment with intent? Like if we aligned what we do, where we go, the job we take, the ways we talk to people, the city we move to, the ways we treat our in-laws with those simple statements directly from Jesus’ mouth.
Hear and Listen. Listen and Do. Listen and Move. Listen and Love.
We have a sign. We have words straight from Jesus. Listen up- Love God, Love People. That’s it.