Knowing When

Yesterday I was involved in a funeral of a mother of one of our members and as funerals go, this went pretty well. I tried to share the Gospel message and offer the comfort of Jesus to everyone present. What caught my eye is what took place after the service was finished and that’s where my story begins.

The service was at a funeral home some distance from Ringwood and therefore my knowledge of the area was limited. I chose to ride with the funeral director in the procession to the cemetery and I always find these travels to be very interesting as the men and women who work in the funeral industry are very dedicated individuals who are also very humble servants of their fellowman.

This was the case with the gentleman who drove me to and from the cemetery. He works for the funeral home and after an exchange of greetings he proceeded to give me a synopsis of his life. All I did was ask a simple question and his words just began to flow. I just listened and said an occasional word of affirmation to let him know I was paying attention.

On our return trip back to the funeral home, he picked up his story as if we had never even taken a break. When we arrived in the parking lot, the gentleman apologized for dominating the conversation but he quickly added, “Thank you for listening. No one seems to listen much to me these days.”

I don’t believe I have any special gift in the area of counseling; in fact, these days I see fewer people come to me for counseling needs. I suspect most folks attempt to fix their own problems using a variety of self help methods and materials promoted in the media and among friends.

What I do try to do is listen because I don’t think I have any quick remedies or cures for what ails most folks today. If people would only hear themselves and their situations, the solutions tend to become much more obvious. What I do add is God’s Word and His Word of Law and Gospel, as needed, depending upon the situation. The Lord knows what we need and has the answer for every problem of our life.

I write this as a helpful word to everyone to know when to speak and when to remain silent with those who come to you. Sometimes all they want is a place where they can empty themselves because no one else is listening to them. So make yourself useful–listen. That may be the way God is calling you to serve that person.

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