1 Samuel 3:8-9

All too often in the rhythms of our church life, we are eager to do something: attend worship, give our tithes, engage in mission outreach, pray. We want to participate so that we feel productive or make an impact or align our actions with our beliefs. But underneath our rush to act we need a sustaining source that we often overlook. In order to do, we first have to be.

This truth is most evident in Eli’s instructions to Samuel. Hear the wisdom in his words when he tells the boy to answer the mysterious Voice, “Speak LORD, for your servant is listening” (v. 9). Servanthood is certainly defined by action, but it is also a state of being in which one first listens and receives direction for what needs to be done. 

When it comes to our faith-in-action, if we aren’t listening for God’s guidance about how to meet the needs of those in our neighborhoods and communities, then our actions, no matter how well-intended, will serve us more than they serve our neighbors.

As we act out the routine rhythms of our church life, we must also slow down enough to simply listen. Just be. What do we hear?

Or better yet, who might we begin listening to in order to best serve their needs in our communities and neighborhoods? What will it look like for us to become listening servants?


How well do we know those we consider “needy” in our community? How might our perspectives change if we become friends who listen before trying to help?


Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. Amen.

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