One day, I called home and decided to play a prank on my children. They all know my voice and respond with about the same level of enthusiasm once they can identify that I am the one calling.
Of my children, the most outspoken is the middle one - my eldest daughter , who at this time was about 11 years old. She was the one I chose as my target and as I hoped, she was the one who answered the phone. The discussion went as follows;
Me: (with my voice modulated a little) Hello
Daughter: Hello, good afternoon. May I know who is speaking?
Me: My name is Peter, I am your mum's friend, may I speak with her please?
Daughter: (There was a pause as she tried to figure who this is) Errm, sorry, who did you say you were?
Me: I said I am your mum's friend. You are her first daughter right? She's spoken a lot about you.
Daughter: (Another pause) I am sorry, I don't know you. How do you know my mum?
Me: Ah! Well, she is a very good friend of mine. We met many years ago and we have remained very close.
Daughter: (She's had enough of this) Well, I don't know who you are. Do you know my mum is married? I really don't understand how you can be my mum's friend and I don't know you. Do you know she's a married woman?
Me: (barely able to contain the laughter trying to burst from my lips) Yes, I know she's married but we are quite close and we talk a lot. Then I added the bit that made her lose her cool. “And I like her very much!”
Daughter: “Okay Mr, I don't know who you are but I am definitely going to tell my daddy about this. Steer clear of my mum, she's married and she is happy with her husband!” (Raises her voice to call her mum that she has a phone call)
When my wife picked the phone, I quickly told her what had transpired and we carried on the charade, knowing my daughter was listening in until we could no longer control ourselves and burst out laughing.
My daughter picked up the phone expecting the voice of her father. She heard a strange voice and that triggered a less than warm reaction. Her reaction was prompted by what she was hearing. Had she listened, she probably would have realized that the voice was not that of a stranger but that of her dad.
The voices we listen to has a major impact on how we lead our lives. There are a lot of voices around is today. They run across several mediums and strata of society. News media, Health, Politics, Religion, Social media, Advertisements on different media. With the internet as a backbone for disseminating information at very fast speeds, many voices that before now were confined to a single location, can now be heard globally.
Some voices are designed to create negative responses like fear, doubt and hatred. While other voices are designed to elicit faith, hope and love for one another.
The suicide bombers who go around killing themselves and innocent people in the Middle East listened to the voice of someone tell them about the 'rewards' of doing so. Men and women who left the comfort and security of living in Britain, listened to voices encouraging them to leave their homes and families who love them, to join the so-called Islamic State fighting in Syria.
One day, the Jews gathered around Jesus. They wanted confirmation that He was the Messiah. They had heard Him speak, they had seen the miracles that He performed and they must have confirmed His teachings with what was contained in their religious books and could find no fault.
They however struggled with the idea that He was the Messiah. Obviously, they had made up their minds that He was not the Messiah and only wanted to obtain evidence to stone Him for heresy.
Jesus responded, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)
From the above, we deduce something very important. There is a difference between 'hearing' and 'listening'. The Jews heard Jesus speak at various times. The fact that they were looking for a way to trip Him up through His words show they had heard Him speak many times. Did they listen? Of course not! That is why Jesus said, “You do believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice”
What voices are you listening to today? You cannot help hearing the news, the advertisements, phone-in calls on radio where people say either good things or nasty things about your faith, your race or your career. If you listen to those voices, you will get angry, bitter or worse still choose to remain aloof and indifferent.
We have millions of people attending church all over the world. The question is, how many of us are listening? Are we just moved by hearing the pastor preach a fantastic message and get so excited, we can barely contain ourselves? What happens after the service is all over? Does the excitement wane or pale into insignificance as we go back to face the real word? Did you just hear the preaching or were you listening?
When we listen to the voice of Jesus, it will produce in us a life of love, hope and faith. We will not be moved by the things we see around us because we have listened to the voice of the one who matters. Rather than remain aloof and indifferent, we will be driven to do something about the world around us. There is so much to be done. We can pray. We can help the needy. We can call someone going through tough times and let them know Jesus loves them.
One voice that made the difference then and makes the differences now is the voice of truth, the voice of hope, the voice of Jesus. Listen to it.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org