Last week a Southwest Airlines flight made an emergency landing after a piece of the engine burst through a cabin window mid-flight. The cabin immediately lost pressure, and the oxygen masks deployed. Photos of the traumatic event surfaced on social media. Aviation officials were quick to point out that most of the passengers pictured wore their oxygen masks incorrectly.
Anybody who has flown on a commercial flight has witnessed the safety briefing that is given at the beginning of every flight by the crew. They probably also noticed that most passengers weren’t paying attention. The information is tedious, and perhaps because the briefings are given with such regularity, people assume they already know the instructions by heart. Yet, when it mattered it became clear that many passengers didn’t.
In Luke 8 chapter eight Jesus tells the parable of the sower, in which four different types of hearers are likened to four different types of soil in which seed is planted. This represents the way that people hear God’s Word. Only in the soil that is properly prepared to receive the seed does it grow. He finishes the parable by saying, “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him” (Luke 8:18).
Whether it is flight safety instructions or the very Word of God, we must be careful how we hear. All too often it is easy to assume we already know what is being said and ignore important details that can make a big difference in the future.