S199P14 – Through Solomon’s eyes: the wisdom of listening

Ecc. 9:17-18

The words of wise men heard in quietness are better than the shouting of one who rules among fools.  Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

They say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  When they started their group project, one girl certainly made sure to squeak.  She was very vocal about all her ideas but was not one to entertain the ideas of others for too long.  The group discussed the direction of their work for some time, but one of their classmates remained silent.  He just watched and listened until the others had reached an impasse.  Then, once the noise had died down, he stepped in.  Everyone else had been so busy trying to push each one’s own plan that they never thought to combine each plan’s strengths into a more complete approach to the assignment. 

Solomon makes a point here about the real value in the words we speak, but this is more about listening than about speaking.  We must be careful about how we listen.  We hear many things throughout any given day, and we must be discerning about what we decide to retain.  Some of the most vocal opinions we will hear are far from being the wisest.  We cannot follow the crowds and simply hitch ourselves to the loudest train that blows through town.  While not all wisdom is quiet and hidden, this evil world will try to drown out the goodness of God.  That is why we must listen carefully because some of the most valuable words we can absorb are barely a whisper.

In this world, we have to filter through the noise.  It is easy to be distracted by words that are loud and emotionally charged, the kinds of words that cannot be ignored.  The thing is, we cannot put a value on a message just based on how it is packaged and delivered.  We have to listen to the words.  The discerning ear is critical and difficult to influence.  It searches to be moved not by passion or fancy but by truth.  That is how we must take in the world around us.  Father, make us wise in our speech, but also help us listen with wisdom, being discerning of the messages we hear.