"Live as servants of God." I Peter 2:16....."In the Kingdom of God, service is not a stepping-stone to nobility. It is nobility." T.W. Manson
Chris Tiegreen gives one of the greatest illustrations of what it is to be attuned to the voice and heart of the Father. He paints the picture of a waiter at a very exclusive restaurant. The skilled waiter is almost unnoticed by the diners, but himself notices everything. He "stands, observing every move of every member of the dinner party....When a diner gives even a slight, highly nuanced expression of need, the waiter discerns the sign and meets the need. He is highly trained to notice, and notices everything." Tiegreen goes on to write, "That is the posture of a Christian who is called to be living sacrifice for the Lord. We're to be 'noticers," interpreting all signs of the Spirit's work." And I go even further in that it should be so concerning His words, His will, and His leading. We must be so in sync with His heart that we perceive what He desires and act upon that perception. We live the life of the "noticer," and we notice nothing more than Him. We are "highly trained" in the Spirit because we have yielded ourselves so completely to His heart that our hearts beat in unison with His. We enter into this life through the school of intimacy and prayer. We notice what He's saying, doing, and leading to. We hear and know His voice because we're so well practiced in listening for it. The noise from all the other "voices" in this realm can't distract us from His.
I think we are rapidly losing the "skill" of listening in the Spirit. Sometimes we do this through the sin of presumption, sure that we already know His heart. Most often though, I think it's because our own voice, the voice of self, speaks so much louder to us than His. Our needs, our desires, our hopes and dreams put all of our focus upon seeing them all come to pass. The result is that we miss countless opportunities to minister, to be His Presence, speak His words, show His heart, to be vessels of His Life to a world, culture, people in desperate need of it. We're much more comfortable being the "diners" at His table rather than being His servants at others tables.
Yet it's much more than being tuned in to the needs around us. It's a matter of being totally tuned into Him. I remember an elderly evangelist named Cliff Chew using the example of a shepherd and his sheep dog. He said the sheep dog's only concern was doing not what the sheep wanted, but what the shepherd desired. That was his focus. So too must it be the focus of the follower, servant, and companion of Christ. Following His voice will often bring us into conflict with those He's sent us to serve. We're to lead in response to His voice, and we trust that voice because we know the heart behind it. This is not a blanket OK of those who think their leading should be unquestioned. A true leader of His people will not ask, demand, or lead in ways contrary to His heart and way. That's why all of us, whether in leadership or following those who are, need to know and discern the voice of the Shepherd.
Are you and I "noticers" first of the Shepherd's heart, and then of the needs, spiritual, emotional, and physical, of those He has placed us among? The need of the hour is a raising up of a "tribe" of noticers, "men (and women) of Issachar", who recognize the times we live in, and what must be done in response to them. May you be one. May I be one. Noticers of the voice, heart, and way of the King.