January 10, 2018

Listening to Jesus

January 10, 2018


Daniel 3:1-30

This weekend’s reading: Daniel 2:1-16

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose to listen to God, not to humans.

Wallace Chappell, Davis Chappell’s father, was sitting in front of me at a session of our Tennessee Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. A visiting bishop was preaching one of most boring sermons ever endured. I put my head in my hands and slept about fifteen minutes. When I woke, I looked around and every single head in the sanctuary was down. Many were sleeping. I couldn’t believe it. How could this bishop preach 45-50 minutes and not realize he was putting everyone to sleep?

Except one person was awake. Wallace Chappell’s voice could be heard saying, “Praise God!” “Amen!” “Alleluia” and “Preach on.” I mumbled, “Don’t preach on!” Wallace kept interrupting my sleep.

After it was over, our presiding bishop didn’t lead us into our closing hymn or benediction. He simply said, “See you back here at 1 p.m.” Everyone then stood very slowly as if waking from a deep sleep.

As we left, Wallace was next to me. I asked him, “How in the world did you get anything out of that message? It was the worst message I’ve ever heard.” Wallace answer was simple, “I wasn’t listening to him. I was listening to Jesus.”

That one experience changed the way I worship. I don’t listen to whomever is leading. I listen for Jesus to talk through the person. Even the most boring speakers and teachers by worldly standards become extremely interesting to me. The music leaders and the choirs are even more powerful. Sunday School teachers’ lessons become more thought-provoking. Even everyday conversations with other people become meaningful when I listen to Jesus through the person.

We can all choose to listen to God through other people.


  • Who are some people in your life who, when they spoke, you felt you were listening to God?
  • When you speak today, how might God speak through what you say (and do)?


  • Who have the most influential voices in school, work, and neighborhood?
  • Do you ever feel pressured by any of these people to do things you know God would not support?
  • How might we listen to God and follow God’s guidance when it goes against what others may say?

Lord, it is so easy to follow the crowd, even when the crowd or a very influential person wants us to do something that is just not right. Help us to listen for you through our pastors and teachers. Help us listen to your Holy Spirit in our work places and schools. Help us listen to you while we are with our families. Help us to listen to you. In your gracious name I pray. Amen.