The voice was familiar and I knew I was in for one more scam call from a pretend Microsoft technician telling me that my computer was contaminating the internet. Generally, I’m patient on these calls. I know the person needs a job. Often I will tell him (there don’t seem to be female callers involved in this) that he is part of a scam and wish him luck in finding a better job. Maybe, I was just being impatient, or frustrated after the last call about my Visa card being in danger. But, this time, I recognized the voice, and immediately told the caller that my computer was working fine. I didn’t need his help.
Which is when it got embarrassing. The caller’s voice was indeed similar. But, rather than the Microsoft pitch I expected, he told me he was glad my computer was working, but that wasn’t what he was calling about. He was calling as a missionary who had visited in my office before I retired. A vague memory crystallized of his sitting with me, talking about the school he wanted to build in the village he grew up in in Africa. I apologized – three times – I apologized. Well, that was embarrassing, I thought as, I hung up.
Today I started a Bible Study “Let Me Ask You A Question, Conversations with Jesus.” One of my passions in ministry has been leading Bible Studies of any sort. I’m asking myself, what does it mean to listen for Jesus, through his questions? So many times, I’ve simply read the question in the larger context of the story, that I’ve completely missed the question itself. I was in Kansas City on vacation, randomly going through the book as I prepared for the class. One day’s reading was related to a question that Jesus asks Simon the Pharisee (Matthew 7:36-50) who is upset with Jesus. A woman had come to Jesus and washed his feet with her tears. Simeon is thinking to himself, that Jesus must know what kind of woman she is. Jesus knowing his heart asks, “Do you see this woman?”
As I thought about those words, I thought of the women who were doing the scrub work at my hotel. Did I really see them? Did I notice them as people who have hopes and dreams, just like me? Was I really seeing these women as they cleaned rooms and did all the work needed to maintain a well run hotel? Did I hear them? Or was I so preoccupied with my plans and agenda, that I was oblivious to them? I have a feeling that listening differently for Jesus will send me in directions I’m not expecting. It is likely to expose my personal blindness and push me to grow a little more. Meanwhile, I have a new resolve to listen before I speak when I’m answering my phone.