Recently I went to the drive-thru at a local coffee and doughnut shop. I pulled up to the microphone and I ordered what my wife and I usually get in the afternoon: a medium-sized latte that we share. The conversation with the female voice at the drive-thru went something like this:
“May I take your order please?”
“Yes, I would like a medium hazelnut latte, hot, with 2 or 3 sugar packets on the side, so I can add sugar as needed.”
A 15-second silence ensued…this seemed like an eternity. During that time I wondered if she heard me. Just as I was about to speak up and repeat myself she said,
“Okay, you can drive around.”
When I got up to the drive-thru window the young lady said, “I have your chocolate milk, but what else did you say you wanted?”
I smiled softly to myself (and at her) and replied, “I didn’t order chocolate milk. I want a medium hazelnut latte, hot, with 2 or 3 sugar packets on the side.”
She turned away from the drive-thru window to enter my order into the register. Almost immediately she turned back to the window and with a confused look said, “Did you say you wanted skim milk?”
I said rather flatly, “No. I just want a medium hazelnut latte, hot, with 2 or 3 packs of sugar on the side.”
She replied somewhat befuddled, “Do you want coffee with hazelnut flavoring?”
Now I was confused! So I repeated my order, “I just want your normal hazelnut latte, hot, with 2 or 3 packs of sugar on the side…however you make your normal hazelnut latte.”
She keyed-in my order then shuffled around the corner. In just a couple of minutes she returned with my latte. We left the drive-thru and continued on to church. It didn’t take long to discover that my latte was actually one-half hazelnut coffee and one-half steamed foam thoroughly separated. That was not their normal hazelnut latte! Since we were going to church there was no time to return to have the order replaced. I’m not certain the results would have been any different! I’m sure you have had a similar drive-thru experience.
This story addresses several life issues, but one which I want to highlight: listening. In Luke 8:18 Jesus instructs us to pay attention to how we hear. The NIV bible enlightens his meaning by translating this phrase as carefully consider how you listen. Have you ever considered how you listen?
There are 4 primary types of listening: one type is Informative Listening. The primary goal of informative listening is to understand a spoken message. A listener is successful to the degree that the message received equals the message spoken. Informative listening is used throughout our lives: we listen to lectures in school, we listen to instructions at work, or we receive orders over a telephone or microphone.
Successful listeners are careful listeners. Unsuccessful listeners are careless listeners. Careful listening requires concentration. We concentrate best when we are single-minded. Unlike the young lady at the drive-thru, we must concentrate on our listening before we can reap the fruit of what we hear.