The art of listening by Ruth Clemence

Books, books, books. It's my birthday soon and that's the first idea that comes to mind when people ask what I'd like as a gift. Whether it's book vouchers, money to buy books or someone just giving me a book, I just love books.

I cannot resist walking into Waterstones and spending time examining the spine of countless novels. The fresh paper smell of new books - it just delights my senses. As for the smell of an old book, that is equally joyous to me.

If someone let's me borrow a book, they have entrusted me with a treasure. I am so thankful for it. As for the local library, I am blessed that it's still open - although I wish there were more books in there. My church has shelves full of books and I am eager to digest the information in each one. If that's not enough, the minister has given me access to his library. I am one lucky bookworm.

I could go on, but I think it's important to remember that reading and writing are gifts. Precious. Learning how to read and write must never be taken for granted. It's not just reading and writing that mustn't be taken for granted. God's precious, spoken Word has been shared for generations through oral tradition and memory. Reading, writing and speaking are wonderful treasures. Yet, listening is an important, yet often overlooked gift.

Jill Carattini from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries wrote about the importance of listening and its role in sharing scripture. She writes:

'The importance of memorization and oral tradition in Israelite culture played a significant role in bringing the collected works of Scripture into being. Listening to narratives, songs, and the Torah read aloud was an integral part of keeping the name of God and the history of God’s presence before them.' 

To commit scripture to memory is something that gets jumbled up in my head at times. I don't spend as much time as I would like to studying and remembering the spoken truths found in my bible. I cram so much information into my brain every day, from daily tasks to useless information on social media, to plot lines or something someone has told me earlier in the day. In the busyness however, am I pushing the life-giving words from scripture to the back of my mind so there is no room left to keep the name of God and the history of His presence before me?

Jill challenges me to listen to God who still speaks today - He is the Living Word and transforms hearts and minds across the world. Reading, writing and speaking make up a sizable portion of my writing journey - now it's time to listen. Will you join me in listening to the Lord's voice today?

Ruth Clemence is a writer and blogger living in South West England. She has written for Devon Life, The War Cry, The Baptist Times, threads and Plymouth's daily newspaper The Herald. A graduate in Geography with International Relations, she has swapped a map and compass for a pen and notebook to pursue that writer life.

Twitter: @ruth_the_writer


  1. Thanks, Ruth - I find this a really difficult balance to get right. When I spent time studying God's word and committing verses to memory, I can see the benefits...but, as you say, it's easy to let this get swamped by other stuff.

  2. I guess you've not had too much time to read all these wonderful books recently. Any chance you've yet had time to read my, Alpha Male, and could post a review on Amazon? Thank you.


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