Keep Your Ears Open

We got to Balboa park on Saturday morning at the perfect time. I got the perfect parking spot under perfect weather. Loretta, about to run her 5 miles, and me, about to do my pull-ups, push-ups and modified dips. A kiss goodbye and "be careful," and we were set. Just, perfect. Wait, my music. Where's my iPod? Many of you know that sometimes you just want to get lost in your music for a training session, a walk or a good run. Well, Saturday I wanted my ears thumping and my heart pumping. I was ready to take things to another level, test the boundary, push my limit. Sometimes music is the perfect training tool, so I turned my truck upside-down but no iPod. Grrr.

Well, I got to the overhead bar and dips station and began to warm up, but before my first rep, I heard a gentleman talking to a friend about her upcoming wedding. He said with love, "He needs to know how important Jesus is to you and that you want to get married in church and that you need your relationship to honor God." He went on and on. Then she responded by describing the difficulty she faced. He'd volley and she'd return. It was a sweet conversation.

Not exactly sure how it happened, but it wasn't long before I - an imperfect stranger - was sharing his testimony of grace and of my wife and how good God has been. We had the nicest time encouraging one another and boasting about the Lord. An hour later, here comes Loretta from her run. I asked their names and we all shook hands. We had become such fast friends, I asked if we could all pray together and we did. Then Loretta and I said goodbye, jumped in the truck and went home. I never did one pull-up.

I start the week with this quick story, because whether it's at work, or school or even in the gym, it's so easy for us and even expected of us to block everything and everyone out. And trust me, I get it. But had my music been blaring in my ears, I never would have heard them talking, never would've had the chance to share the Lord, and we certainly wouldn't have been praying together in the middle of Balboa park on a perfect day for a workout. Now, I'm not suggesting we don't get into the zone or turn up the volume, but I am suggesting that someone we're around this week just might need your ear or mine. Let's make sure they're open.

God, You're the music. Give us Your ears today and each day this week, Lord. Help us listen for the things You'd have us hear. Drown out the noise. What You have to say to us is life's melody - our favorite song - and we don't want to miss a note. So please turn up the volume of our hearts toward You and toward the needs of others. Ears thumping, hearts pumping. In Jesus' name, and for His sake, Amen.

Jimmy Peña

P.S. Getting out of the truck at home, guess what I found? :-)

For Discussion: Can I ask a favor? If you're listening, say 'amen' in the comments section. And friends, a new song I'd like you to carry in your heart this week comes from a brother in Christ, his name is Smokie Norful and his new album is called "Forever Yours." Bless your life and download it from iTunes, and the song I'm talking about is called, "Imperfect Me". Here are a few of the words:

When I'm a bird with one wing, A song with no melody, Somehow I fly and sing Because of how You see me. Imperfect me. What do you know that I don't? And how do you hear...hear that song in me? I say I'm lost, You see I'm free. How do you see the good in imperfect me? ImperfectMe