It used to be funny

When you are young and know everything, it is easy to make fun of others. We used to have a running joke in the family, usually involving the only female in our tribe of four. She would mention her grandfather or someone we knew who was having trouble hearing. The really mature people (me or the boys) other than her would respond, “Huh?” Yeah, it was hilarious, but you had to be there.

There are plenty of jokes about hearing. Like: “A man is talking to his neighbor, ‘I finally broke down and bought a hearing aid. It cost me $4000, but they told me it was state of the art. It’s perfect.’ His neighbor responds, ‘Really? What kind is it?’ The man answers, ’12:30.’”

Jokes like that lose their funny with the passing of the years.

We take a great deal for granted – our sight, our hearing, our mobility, our mental acuity.  But hearing difficulty isn’t just a physical issue. I’ve noticed poor hearing can be a discipline issue, a pay-attention issue.

When our oldest son was a preschooler, he was incredibly active. One day when he was bouncing off the walls, Kim gave him an assignment. She was working in the kitchen, standing at the sink. She came up with a brilliant idea: “Andy, I want you to see how fast you can run around the outside of the house ten times. I’ll be watching through the window and counting.” She thought he would burn up some of that energy and give her some peace and quiet. I don’t know what the neighbors thought, but there he went, a 3 year-old blur.

There were times he was so busy that I had to stop him, place my hands on the side of his head, and say firmly, “Andy, look at me when I am talking to you.” Then came the moment when he was having a hard time getting my attention. I was watching a game on TV and he crawled into my lap and placed his hands on my face and said, “Dad, look at me when I’m talking to you.”

I wonder sometimes if Christ must want to do the same with us. More than once He told his audience, “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand” (e.g., Matthew 11:15). I’ve never heard Him out loud, but I know He is speaking, prompting, urging, leading. I pray I am paying attention.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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