There have been a number of times it has happened in my life. I’m sure it has happened to you. You have even observed the phenomenon happening to others. I’ve seen it among individuals and amid large groups, even in stadiums full of people. This occurrence, this interesting happening in life, is when our attention is so taken we are completely captivated by what is being said. It is as if we are hanging on every word.
So when did something grip you where you were so taken that the world seemed to stop and everything was a blur and all other noises were muffled and you hung on every word? Maybe it was those cherished words from that certain special someone as you exchanged “I love you.” I’m sure during the 9/11 tragedy you were as glued to the TV as was the rest of the nation, hanging on every word from reporters on the scene. Today as I write, the Egyptians in Egypt and all over the world are hanging on every word of what the present Egyptian government will do in light of the recent uprising. Just this past week, I visited a family who was hanging on every word from the doctors as they listened to the next steps for treatment. As well, we may hang on the words of a trusted mentor, a close friend, a loving mate, a godly parent or grandparent. I used to love to listen to my grandfather tell of his antics on the Canadian Ski Patrol. I know our kids used to hang on every word as their ‘Papa’ (Kristi’s late father) would tell story after story of all the trouble he and his twin brother got into growing up.
I also remember key moments as a high school student where I would hear my youth pastor or a camp speaker share God’s Word and hung on every word. One time as an intern, the church invited all us young men and women who were thinking about ministry to sit and listen to J. Oswald Sanders. We were all on the edge of our seats hanging on every word. As a matter of fact, one phrase he shared has shaped my life and ministry and has been a guiding principle that I hold on to even today (maybe I will share it with you in a future email/blog).
There are moments, occurrences, opportunities, and instances where we literally hang on every word, where we become so captivated by what is being said that those words, those truths, sink deep into our being and have a great and lasting impact. Those are often times incredible moments.
It was this notion of ‘hanging on every word’ the Lord brought to my mind as I was doing my daily devotions and came across Luke 19:41-48. Jesus was coming into Jerusalem where He experienced a week of turmoil, torment, and eventually triumph. Yet on this day, a Monday, He was so outraged at the way people had turned God’s house, the Temple, into a place where people were swindling others and seeking to take advantage of others to make a financial gain.
Luke 19:45-46 45Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. 46“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.'”
This was yet another straw that broke the camel’s back of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They were done and wanted Him dead. He had successfully defused the grip of fear they had placed on people and loosened these religious, power-grabbing, pride-infested, false teacher’s grip on the throats of God’s precious people. People loved Jesus, from the super sinner to the most holy saints; they enjoyed how He put abusive, powerful people in their place and spoke soothing words of God’s love, grace, and mercy.
Yet these powerful religious leaders were after Him.
Luke 19:47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him.
But they could not get to Him because the same phenomenon was happening that we have been talking about.
Luke 19:48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on His words.
And it was then that I started to wonder what would happen in our lives if we would truly hang on His words? What if we would listen and choose to let those words, those truths, sink deep into our being and have a great and lasting impact? Would the enemy be stayed and held at bay so he, the devil and his minions, could not wreak havoc? Would we see more clearly His unique call on our lives? Would we experience more of His peace and grace? Would we gain more of an understanding of His attributes and great expanse of the Father and the Holy Spirit? I kept thinking of what impact this could have on families, churches, cities, states, nations, people groups…what if we honestly chose to hang on His words??
What about you?
Journeying with you,