The Scriptures contain numerous exhortations as to how ministers of the word should pay close attention to their doctrine and teaching (see for one example 1 Tim. 4:13-16).
The word of God also addresses the other side of the communication quotient, the listener, in multiple places.
One such instance in the teaching of Jesus occurs in Luke 8 with his explanation of the parable of the sower. His point in the parable is that not all who have ears truly hear. So the end of the matter is this in v. 18 – Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.
Kent Hughes, in his book Disciplines of a Godly Man (Crossway, 1991, 282 pages), gives two lists, one for Saturday night and one for Sunday morning that can make a huge difference in how we hear when we sit under the preaching of the word.
On Saturday (pp. 114-15)
- I have asked Christ to make me sensitive tomorrow to needs of people in the body who are hurting.
- I have solved the “Sunday clothes hassle” by making sure that what I will wear is ready today.
- I have spent time in confession so all will be right between myself and my Lord when we meet tomorrow.
- I have determined to get to bed early so I will be refreshed and ready for church tomorrow.
- I have planned on sustaining the delight of this time with Christ and his people by guarding against Sunday afternoon infringements.
On Sunday (p. 115)
- I have gotten up in plenty of time so I will not feel rushed.
- I have programmed my morning so I will not just arrive at church on time, but get there early.
- I have eaten a good breakfast, so an empty stomach will not detract from my worship.
- I have my Bible in hand plus a pen and paper for taking notes.
- I have left for church with a great sense of expectancy because I know Christ will be there.
Careful hearing requires disciplined preparation. May we give ourselves to whatever it takes to have ears that truly hear, especially on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.