Take, o take me as I am.
Summon out what I shall be.
Set your seal upon my heart,
And live in me.

from "Take, O Take Me As I Am" by John L. Bell (1995)

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A third time the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d been.

Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”

1 Samuel 3:8-10

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There is a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing, I believe, is like having headphones in while I’m working. I can get things done and the music or words provide an ambience to spur me forward. But, they’re background noise.

Listening is different. Listening requires devoting your full attention – setting distractions aside to focus on what’s most important. We may hear all sorts of noise we believe to be God, but like Samuel it can take the care of a loving mentor to help us know how to listen well.

Eli’s instruction isn’t just for Samuel to wait for God again, but to prepare himself to respond when God does speak. This wise counsel helps Samuel move from hearing to listening. Whereas before, he simply heard a voice, he was then ready to respond and take action. That’s the challenge for us too: to move from hearing (passive waiting) to listening (responding in kind).

Who might help you listen to God’s voice today? How might they challenge you to respond?

Daniel Potter

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As I wait for you to speak, O God, help me to be actively preparing for an encounter with you. Let my actions and my thoughts say, “Speak, your servant is listening.” Move me from hearing you only to a response that begins with true listening. Amen.

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The Creator of the Cosmos, the one who formed all that was or is or will be, is the same God who breathed breath into you, the one who knit you together, the one who knows you best, and the one who calls you.

Know this gift more deeply today, and share it as freely as you received it: You are called and known.

Daniel Potter

Daniel Potter is the Minister of Youth at First Baptist Church of Columbus, GA. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. In his free time, Daniel loves spending time with his wife, playing fetch with his dog, cheering on the Tar Heels, and everything musical. Daniel will also serve as President of the CBF Youth Ministry Network, beginning in February 2021.

Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus

Rodrigo Rodriguez

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