Daily D – Luke 2:49
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” LUKE 2:49 (NLT)
Mary and Joseph experienced every parent’s nightmare. Losing a child, even for a few moments, stimulates the worst parts of our imagination. Even now memories flood in with their accompanying dread and terror.
Jesus was nowhere to be found. He was twelve years old, a good boy, very responsible, but missing. It took three days to find him. What happens to a mother’s heart in that amount of time? What runs through a father’s mind?
They discovered him in the Temple (verses 46 and 47) “sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”
Joseph and Mary experienced terror and relief in somewhat equal measures. The teachers experienced amazement at Jesus’ understanding.
Before we get to the bottom line of this story, notice Jesus’ demonstrations of wisdom beyond his years. We learn how to learn from how he interacted with the professors of his day.
First, he listened to them. This is the number one skill in learning. You have probably told your own children that God gave them two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you speak. Listen before you speak. And when you speak, ask good questions.
Listening is more important than taking notes. I have an iPad app that records audio while I take notes. I can go back to a particular place and listen again to what was said when I wrote those particular notes. However, this only works in controlled settings. It does not work as well in a busy restaurant or on an airliner.
Get good at listening. Listen deeply. Listen all the way to the end of what someone says. Thou shalt not finish someone’s sentence or thought. The most important thing a person says is usually at the end. Wait for it. WAIT FOR IT!
Second, he asked questions. He who listens deeply and asks powerful questions learns twice. “There are no stupid questions,” teachers and parents like to say. This is almost always true. Assuming you are really listening and really want the right answers, it is true even when you ask something others may regard as juvenile or simplistic.
Tara Westover in her amazing memoir, Educated, tells about attending a class at college where she asked what the word holocaust meant. She had never heard of it. Read her book and you will understand why. The professor responded rudely. Let us give thanks for patient professors who understand that for many of their students, their lectures are the first encounters those students have with their particular areas of expertise.
Learn how to ask good questions. This includes some important ratios. Limit Yes and No questions to about 1:10. Ask open-ended questions nine times out of ten. Here is a closed-end question: Did you have a good Christmas? Here is an open-ended question: What did you like best about Christmas?
When you pick up children after school, do not ask, “Did you have a good day?” Instead ask something like, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?”
Pay attention as you read the gospels and you will see again and again that Jesus listened deeply and asked powerful questions. In answer to that old wristband question, “What Would Jesus Do?” He would listen deeply and ask powerful questions.
It is a good Bible study method to make note of every question Jesus asked. I have a book that traces each question and what happened. It is fascinating reading.
Back to the bottom line: Jesus teaches us what to do when we discover that we are lost. He went to our Father.
Combine the lessons learned in these few verses. Start with the last one. Go to our Father with your problems. Ask him all your questions. Listen deeply. And, one final step, do what Jesus did.
“Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them,” (verse 51).
Obey God by aligning your heart and mind with his truth. Follow wherever he leads.
I will ask good questions, listen deeply, and obey immediately.
Our Father, teach me. Give me an expanding intellect fed through powerful questions and deep listening. Give me a willing and obedient heart to do what I hear you say. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”