Millennials are known for constantly wearing ear pods. According to Lindsey Pollak's blog (www.lindseypollak.com) on managing milennials, they listen to 75% more music than the Boomer generation does. They walk around stores, work at the office, and exercise all while having at least one ear filled with a speaker.
Many office managers have come to accept that their employees are going to work at a desk with one ear pod in at all times. Friends and family have grown accustomed to having to wait after the initial "HEY" or wave for the ear pod to be taken out or the music stopped before a conversation can start. Incredible amounts of audio content is being consumed from music, podcasts, sermons, and audio books.
Listeners choose ear pods because they can control what they are hearing. Olga Kahazan, writing in The Atlantic about here constant usage of ear pods, nailed the present obsession by concluding, "Just like we choose everything else, I choose exactly what to put in my ears. All other noise is canceled."
The obsession is about power, control, and choice.
Without getting into the social etiquette issues and generational divides on this issue, I want to probe this issue of choice, power, and control. Christ regularly admonished us to use our ears for hearing (see Mark 4:23). But Jesus didn't stop there, he went on to say, "Take care what you listen to" (Mark 4:23). Whatever we choose to put into our minds will impact and come out in our lives. This power and control comes with a great responsibility.
Consider Christ's further explanation of the importance of our listening.
"Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given--and you will receive even more.To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them." (Mark 4:24-25 NLT)
If people will listen to Christ and his teachings they will gain wisdom and more insight. But if they are not listening to Christ but filling their minds with worldly concepts and ideals, then what little understanding they have about truth will be taken away from them.
Every ear pod, every car speaker, every phone speaker is a blessing and a responsibility we have been given by God to choose wisely what we listen too. It will impact us for either good or bad. Amazing how Jesus was ahead of the ear pod generation two millennia before they came into existence!
Josh Ketchum preaches at Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield.