When God speaks, we must listen

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Hearing from God”
Our Bible verse for today: “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.” Matthew 19:21-22 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “When God speaks, we must listen”
In Matthew 19:16-22 a young man encountered Jesus and expressed interest in following Him. But there was something holding him back. He valued his worldly possessions more than he did whatever else Jesus had planned for him. The young man had a choice to make. Would he surrender his own desires and follow Jesus on the path the Lord had chosen for him, or would he cling to his own plans and go his own way? The Scripture tells us that this young man decided against the life Jesus had for him and he went his own way. We can only assume it ended badly for him.
That story reminds me of another young man I knew personally. I will call him Mike. He was a talented musician, singer, and songwriter. He played multiple instruments well, he had a talent for writing beautiful songs, and he had a voice that sounded a lot like Michael W. Smith. Even as a teenager he was an effective worship leader, and he could have had a ministry career as a worship leader and /or youth pastor.
But Mike had visions of being a big star in Christian music. He wanted fame and fortune, and he became frustrated when it didn’t come his way quickly. He was willing to have his dream come true in the world of Christian music – as long as that included record deals and concert halls. But when that didn’t seem to be happening, he shifted his sights to the world of secular music. He moved to Los Angeles (about two hours from our town) and became involved in the music and movie industry.
And he did find success. He and a couple of partners even wrote and performed the title song for a movie starring James Earl Jones. But Mike also got sucked into the dark side of life in Hollywood, including drugs and especially alcohol. It destroyed his life. Family and friends reached out to him repeatedly, trying to help him see what was happening, but he wouldn’t listen. I personally spent many hours with him trying to help him see how, if he would rededicate his life and his talents to the Lord, he could have a wonderful life serving God and the Christian community on a church staff. Unfortunately, he wasn’t receptive. Instead, he continued on the wrong path and, sadly, I ended up performing his funeral.
God was speaking loudly and clearly to Mike through the circumstances of his life. First, all that talent and all that experience leading worship services served as a spiritual map pointing him to what God had waiting for him next. Second, the disastrous consequences he was experiencing as a result of deviating from God’s plan were also circumstances through which God was speaking very loudly. But Mike chose not to listen to God, and the consequences were tragic.
The lesson for us in that story is that when God speaks, we had better listen. Tomorrow we will consider how each of us can better learn to pay attention to the circumstances in our own lives and to hear God speaking to us through them.
God bless,
Pastor Jim
(If you like what you’re reading in these daily devotionals, and if you would like more content from Oak Hill Baptist Church, join us on Sundays at 10:00 – in-person if you are nearby or, if you are geographically distant or if you just can’t make it, online at www.YouTube.com/@oakhillbaptistcrossville)
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