Learning to Listen

October — A Month of Prayer

Sunday Morning Sermon
October 15, 2017
Mark 4:35 – 41; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2
John McKeel

 “Be still, and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10

“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” — Habakkuk 2:20

All Pervasive NOISE

We might chuckle at the phrase “noise pollution,” but it is all around us. Who hasn’t been woken in the middle of the night by somebody on a motorcycle? Stop for just a moment and listen. We are surrounded by noise, but it is nothing compared to the noise that goes on inside of our heads!

Sleeping in the Back of the Boat

Jesus was exhausted. It was the end of a very long day of teaching and preaching and he just needed to get away from it all. At evening, he got in a boat and told his disciples, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” Then he fell asleep so soundly that even a hurricane[1] couldn’t wake him. Have you ever wondered how that was possible? (Mark 4:30-34)

Two Kinds of Quiet

Timothy was the Apostle Paul’s protégé (Acts 16:1-5) and when young Timothy became the new evangelist for the church in Ephesus, the apostle sent a letter to him and the church there explaining how Christians should behave as a church.

Prayer is so important, Paul told them to think about it “first of all,” but what should we pray for? Paul’s answer guides us too. “… that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.”

Peaceful Life

Let’s think about “peace.” In the Bible, peace doesn’t mean the absence of conflict. It means, God is in control. Do you really believe that?

God is in control and that’s how it should be. Smile quietly to yourself because you know, behind all the noise and chaos we call “life,” God is sitting on His throne and everything is going to be okay. That’s peace!”

Quiet Life

The second word Paul uses to describe what we should pray for is “quiet.” We need “peaceful and quiet lives.” Alas, this word has been sorely abused by English translations. For example, just a few verses later many translations announce women “must be silent,” but this is the very same word translated “quiet” in verses 2 and 11!

No, Paul isn’t commanding the women to “shut up” (see Mark 1:25 for that word), but he is agreeing with Peter who teaches that true beauty is a “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4) – something God highly values in all of us.

You can’t make yourself be quiet any more than a gardener can make a plant grow or a sailor can call the wind. Quiet is something you cultivate or capture. For most people, it is a blessing that is just out of reach, but only because we don’t take the time to nurture this special virtue.

Putting It All Together

Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Focus on God and “count your many blessings.” God loves us – that never changes. Now we can pray – commune with our heavenly Father!

[1] Mark 4:37 “a furious squall” NIV, but lailaps literally refers to a hurricane or whirlwind.

Published by

John McKeel

John is a teacher, author, adventurer, and the minister for GCC – the Groton Church of Christ.

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