I figured I'd share a bit more about it since I know it's something that I need to focus on again and again.
The Thought for the Day that morning was from the gospel of John chapter 5, versus 39 and 40:
You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.
Jesus is pointing out that these folks who knew scripture backwards and forwards were using it to serve themselves instead of hearing the truth that the words held. He goes on to say that they claim the words of Moses are true, but here those words are, in the flesh, right in front of them and they are not seeing it.
They were reading what they wanted to read and hearing what they wanted to hear.
Are we guilty of this?
My takeaway was to reflect on all the times I've "listened" to God through a sermon or the words in the Bible with "talking ears" or "self-serving ears" instead of "hearing ears". Every morning I listen to Food For the Journey with Sr. Ann Shields. It comes on around 5:10am. She reflects on the daily readings and often times something she says will be the spring board for my reflection during the Thought for the Day segments. So I'll often find myself listening to her, trying to think of how I could reiterate her sentiments or lesson. Then I knock myself in the head and say, "Abby! Just listen! Don't worry about how to share this on the air. Just hear it for yourself." Who knows, maybe the message she's sharing on a particular day isn't meant for others, it's meant for Abby.
This idea of "talking ears" also applies to hearing God's word with the intent of forcing it upon other people. If you listen so you can spit it back out to prove a point, you are probably not hearing it with the right heart. Wouldn't it be much more effective if you take those words and lessons into your heart and become a walking, talking example of them instead of just a parrot? It is easy for people to detect a phony. If the words that come out are empty or from a place of pride and judgement, then they are just a playback. However, when they are knitted into your core being, when you hear them with ears eager to learn and accept, they become not just arranged letters, but truth and life and love.