A Lesson from Oprah

Oprah Winfrey’s daily talk show came to an end last week. It was a major television event. Several big names were showcased on the show, including Maya Angelou. When asked why Oprah was so influential and loved worldwide, Maya mentioned that chief among the reasons was how well she listened to people, “Oprah listens in a way that leads to and invites trust.”

What better way to be recognized than as a good listener? It’s certainly true that listening is one of the chief hallmarks of loving relationships. When we hit the spot and attend to the voice of another, we discover that empathy comes with greater fluidity. But, when we miss the mark and turn a muted or deaf ear to another, we end up living in isolation and relational poverty.

God longs for us to listen to his voice. In fact, doesn’t he have much more important words to say to us than we could ever say to him? Translate that to our human relationships…isn’t it far more important to listen first before offering our own words? Jesus certainly modeled that for us – asking a question in reply to one over and over again. It seems like he was always more inclined to listen, observe, and ponder first before speaking.

We know Oprah Winfrey for her talk show…but was it really more of a listen show? Listening is a lesson worth learning and adhering to no matter what. Listen to God, listen to another, listen to our world, listen even to yourself – and then offer your reply. You’ll find that what comes out of your mouth is a far better reflection of your listening heart and might in fact be much richer in wisdom and significance. Do you agree? I’m all ears…


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.