Friday, September 2, 2011

DEVOTION: Listening is hard Work - by Raymond Hawkins

Place…Walking home from a Retirement Village

My mind is so full, Lord, I’m mentally drained.
Listening is so demanding. Those residents had some interesting yarns to tell about their lives and history. Some had clearer recall of their growing up days than their last few years, still all enjoyed reliving them. I loved hearing them.
As I sat with them the strain of being attentive was ever present. In the nursing home there is always something happening which can so easily distract. Keeping focused on the person, especially if they were frail, spoke softly or with difficulty, sapped me emotionally. It is so important, as You know Lord, that they sense genuine interest.
It was a privilege to hear about things they did, discovered or endured before I was born. As they spoke I could almost see in their eyes the events they were reliving. Some of the stories made me laugh. Some made me shudder. One or two nearly made me cry. The accounts I most enjoyed were from those who had faith in You. When I left, did they taste again those years in their memory? It’s a pity that so many of their stories haven’t been written down for family and future generations.
Lord, it has made me more conscious of my need to listen to my family in a similar way.  It will probably be as demanding, though in different ways. At home as we interact daily and can so easily take each other for granted. Maybe I need to be forgiven for doing that anyway.
It’s nice to walk and talk with you Lord and to know You’re listening.  Amen!

Raymond N Hawkins (Tasmania) is retired after over 40 years as a minister. He enjoys sharing themes from the Scriptures through Devotional writing. Married to Mary, multi-published inspirational romance author, they have three children and are now proud grandparents. 

Ray shares his insights in his first two devotional books in his 31 Day series, Marriage and Children. Ray lives in Tasmania, Australia, where he heads up a new Christian Fellowship and does relief preaching, community work and writing.


  1. Thank you for a timely reminder, Ray!

  2. Hi Ray,
    It is such a vital ministry listening to these people and their stories. I am so encouraged that you do that.
    Jennifer Ann

  3. Listening is hard work. I'm so grateful God listens to us. We need to listen as intently to Him.

  4. Well written encouraging article Ray. Thanks.

  5. Thanks Shirley, Jennifer, Judith and Jo for your comments. Listening takes us beyond the words said to understand the heart behind that which has been spoken.
    There is a similar aspect to what we write and how others read it. So thank you for encouraging me with your heart expressed through your fingers on the computer key bosrd.
    Ray H.

  6. Oh, Ray, I know exactly what you mean. George and I often minister in nursing homes. Some appear not be be taking in anything as they close their eyes. But afterward we make time to really listen to folk with some of their past experiences.
    And yes, it can be emotionally draining.