If Only They Would Listen …

Did my words reach them? I mumbled on the way back to my office from presenting to another team. Will my words take root and grow them into effective manager-coaches who bring out potential in others?

deaf earsThe audience greeted me and gave me their attention for ten minutes. Then, despite my preparation and passion for the subject, some listeners retreated. One pushed his chair backwards and closed his eyes. My words fell on the table, never reaching him.

Others stared out the floor-to-ceiling windows, some distant thought or plan choking out the sound of any call to action I suggested. And I noticed some, who leaned forward at first and scribbled notes, now straightened in their chairs and frowned as if their energy for the task before them withered under the heat of a challenging climb to success.

I failed to engage them, I concluded.

The email from their manager came an hour later. “Gloria, thank you for coming to speak with us today. The information you discussed was invaluable. Just in the time it took to walk across the hall after the meeting, there were so many comments about … how they can carry out the information into their next coaching sessions.”

I smiled, realizing that for some, my words landed on fertile ground. They took root. These will blossom into solid managers one day.

Heaven on earth would be everyone paying 100% attention whenever we speak or share our passions. Unfortunately, Jesus predicted that would not always happen. He told the parable of the farmer who sowed his seeds. Not all seed produced. Birds snatched the seeds that fell along the path. Those that fell on rocks grew but with shallow roots, so they withered and died in the sun. Other seeds fell among thorns, which choked the plants to death.

The only seeds to produce crops were those that fell on fertile soil. Soil tilled, watered, fertilized.

Did my words reach them? As I consider different soils on which my words may fall, I expect not everyone will listen. Not everyone will hear.

And, lest I get too smug about those who missed my message, I must walk to the other side of the table and ask myself, which soil am I today?

Other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown…the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understand it. He produces… (Matthew 13:8, 23, NIV)


©2013 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.


About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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10 Responses to If Only They Would Listen …

  1. Joy says:

    Years ago, before I became a Christian, someone threw a seed my way. I’ll never forget the girl who wanted to tell me about Jesus, when my heart was so hard. Her face fell at my harsh reply. It is her face that I still remember… wounded and sorrowful at my rejection. “Who am I to reject Jesus?” I thought as I walked on. It did not occur to me that she personally felt sad that I rejected her – I thought she was sad that I had rejected Jesus. Her face told me she cared about my soul. Thanks for the reminder, Gloria.

    • Gloria Ashby says:

      Thank you, Joy for the great example of how our own soil needs tilling over the years to nurture the seeds other give us. We can all be like all of the soils at different points in our lives.

  2. Gloria, I always thank God specifically for days every time He allows me an encouraging word from someone. I try to leave the results to God each time (as I know we all do) but it is a struggle sometimes. Thanks for the reminder that we cannot control the condition of the soil. Ours is to obediently spread the seed.

  3. vondaskelton says:

    Thank you for the reminder that we never know where our words will fall. Sometimes our words will challenge and excite others, even when we don’t think they’re listening; sometimes they won’t. But either way, it’s our responsibility to share the message, scatter the seed, and pray for changed hearts.

  4. Sue Badeau says:

    Such true words. And a great reminder. Often after I teach or speak, I review the evaluations. There can be 98 good ones and only 2 bad ones and yet I will fixate on those, wondering what went wrong – so valuable to be reminded of this lessons and not to be puffed up with pride that somehow my teaching will be more fruitful than even Jesus. As well as the reminder to sit on the other side of the table and think about how well I listen – how much I hear . . . . . Appreciate the reminders Gloria!

  5. Wise words from a wise woman.
    Thank you for putting this truth into a post.
    Since you are such a gifted speaker, Gloria, I’m amazed that this message came from you.
    Teach on!

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