In their 'Bible in One Year' reading plan, Nicky and Pippa Gumbel quote Sir Isaac Newton as saying "I find intelligence is better spotted when analyzing the questions asked rather than the answers given". The Gumbels go on to say: "Often, those who know most speak least. When we are talking, we are usually merely repeating what we already know. When we are listening, we may learn something new." Epictetus said “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
With these quotes in mind I'd like you to ask yourself, "do I talk too much?". When others are talking to you, are you really listening and processing what they are saying or are your thoughts occupied with preparing your next statement? When you walk away from a conversation, do you recall much of what the other person said, or can you only bring to memory your own words? If you answered yes to the last two questions, then the answer to the first question is yes, you talk too much.
Don't feel bad if you just found out that you are a blabber-mouth, it's a very common condition. The good news is that it is treatable and will just take some discipline on your part to correct it. Begin your recovery by being diligent in your interactions with others so that you are listening more than talking. You can start this right now! You will be surprised at how much you will learn. You might see an improvement at work when you have better communication with your co-workers. Children will probably receive far fewer reprimands when they actually pay attention to what their parents are saying (and then DO what they say). Married couples will probably even save themselves a few arguments. The kind that usually start with something like "you never told me...". And imagine how much more effectively you can share the gospel to the lost if you aren't so concerned about hearing yourself talk, but actually get to know them and listen to what they are going through.
The fact is that most relationships in your life will improve when you "listen twice as much as you speak". This is especially true in your relationship with Jesus. We would be very wise to do more listening than talking when it comes to our walk with Him. Proverbs 1:5 says "A wise [man] will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,". If we are honest, most of us spend a tremendous amount of prayer time talking but very little, if any, listening. We ask for guidance, but don't hang around long enough to hear the "wise counsel" that He has for us. Jesus said in John 10:27: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." When we do more listening than talking, we will become very familiar with the voice of God and this will keep us from many poor decisions and missed opportunities. God probably has a lot to say to us that we are missing out on. We ought to allow for some quiet listening time when we pray. We also have the printed Word of God that we can go to for answers and guidance. Praying and then reading/studying scripture will fill you with wisdom and guide your paths.
How much wise counsel and guidance are we robbing ourselves of because we talk too much? Do yourself a favor and start listening more and talking less. You will be amazed at what you will learn. You will be blessed with stronger relationships. You will begin walking more closely to the Lord than ever before and you will become a more effective witness for Jesus.
Patrick A. Thomson
I don’t know about you, but I am intrigued when I see people who’ve made something spectacular of their lives. We have heard the terms “handed to them on a silver platter” or “self made man” and we attach differing values of respect with each of them. To those who have had to scratch and claw to make something of their lives we esteem their success as warranted and those who were simply born into it are viewed as lucky or spoiled. The reality of it all is that it takes a lot to be financially or even physically successful.
Those who command enormous salaries or have conquered the limitations of the flesh have given a lot to see those heights attained. In the instance of those people who have achieved spectacular things with their lives you will find that one thing is common for them all. Before they were ever famous, wealthy or world champions they had to make a decision to apply themselves 100% to their chosen field.
But, in the case of all who go on to accomplish things that someone else said couldn’t be done, there must always be a commitment made that brings about the desired end. People do not just fall into greatness or glory.
28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, & perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the 1st commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
So what was Jesus saying when he instructed that we should love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength? How much of us was He really requiring? How much of you can the Lord have? Only in giving our all in our relationship with the Lord will we ever know the depth of His love, mercy and grace. God wants all of you!
Are you willing?