Two Ears One Mouth

by Jimmy Pruitt


Jesus was a master at asking questions. Don’t get me wrong, he could bring solutions, wisdom and answers. Read the Gospels, he did plenty of that. However, in the rabbinic tradition of his culture he asked a lot questions.

It’s a great skill that I am working on. A salesman once told me, “Everyone has two ears and one mouth. You should listen twice as much as you talk.” Brilliant. It’s probably a basic principle in salesmanship 101. I never took that class.

I met with a pastor who wanted to bring me on his team. I thought he was going to interview me. You know, ask questions about my beliefs, strengths, vision, personality and skills. Instead, he talked about himself for two excruciating hours. When he finished his speech I politely declined the position.

In the past when I would start to run on about myself, Annette would take the liberty to kick me under the table. Like one of Pavlovs’ dogs, with bruised and battered shins, I finally began to ask questions and simply listen instead of planning the next section of my wisdom laden speech in my head.

Are you a talker or a listener? Do you go on and on like the Energizer Bunny? Do you dominate conversations and turn them into speeches? Are you guilty of highjacking dialogues and turning them into monologues? If so, give the salesman 101 principle a try. Listen twice as much as you talk.

Everyone has a story and each person’s story needs to be heard and valued. Jesus asked one man, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus knew what he needed, but he took time to listen to one who had a great need. Be intentional, stop talking and start listening.

But who do you say I am? – Jesus (Mark 8:29)