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“The First Service One Owes To Others In The Fellowship Consists In Listening To Them. Just As Love Of God Begins In Listening To His Word, So The Beginning Of Love For The Brethren Is Learning To Listen To Them. It Is God’s Love For Us That He Not Only Gives Us His Word But Lends Us His Ear. So It Is His Work That We Do For Our Brother When We Learn To Listen To Him.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The ministry of listening…

The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them… Listening can be a greater service than speaking…

One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others… Anyone who thinks his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies…

We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 97-99.

“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them.”

Jon Walker in his book, In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work:  Life Together writes in chapter 24 about the ministry of listening. Some Christians are very good at speaking but not very good at listening. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote…

We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.

Walker writes that The Big Idea is…

The way we listen to others is a reflection of how we listen to God and listening is the key to deepening our faith. Listening to others is an essential service, or ministry, God tells us to provide to one another.  

Walker added:

One of the most extraordinary things about Jesus when he was on the earth was the way he consistently listened to the people around him. He took the time to hear what others had to say and he showed genuine interest in their thoughts.

…If we want to be like Jesus, we have to learn to listen to one another.

…Listening is one of the ways we serve others in the Body of Christ. 

…Listening requires we be fully present in the present. Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary phrased it this way: “Wherever you are, be all there. Our focus on the present teaches us to be sensitive to the needs, hurts, likes, dislikes, and even joys of those we live with in visible community. 

…To be like Jesus…

Listening is a Christ-like characteristic, so we must learn to listen to Jesus and to one another. 

(Jon WalkerIn Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work: Life Together, Chapter 24)

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