“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

“Did you hear me?”

I snap out of tunnel vision, look away from the screen (Xbox controller in hand), and find my wife standing before me, slightly annoyed. “I’m sorry, what?”

We’ve all seen this scenario play out before.

Or with my children: “Pick-up your stuff.” Only seconds later, “Did you hear me?… Then why is your stuff still sitting there?”

In both instances, the one being addressed had perfectly good ears—fully capable of hearing—but the message never penetrated. Several times in the Gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:9), usually after sharing a parable or hard teaching. He wanted the message to actually get through.

Are we going to church, week after week, Sunday after Sunday, and hearing the truth of God’s Word but never actually hearing it? Are we regularly taking the time to dig deep—struggle even—in order to understand what God is saying through a particular passage of Scripture?

Or is our faith more akin to the young couple on a date at the table next to you; one is trying to carry the entire weight of their relationship, while the other has his nose stuck in his smart phone?

“Lord, give me ears that hear. Eyes that see. A mind of understanding. And a soft heart that responds.”