September 7, 2022 — Paying Attention to what Matters

“Last Sunday at the church service,” Stan commented one morning, “a friend of mine was sitting in the row right in front of me. During the pastor’s sermon, he kept nodding off. At one point, when he leaned over into his wife she jabbed him awake.”

“That must have been kind of distracting for you,” I commented.

“It was,” Stan replied, “and I was thankful it lasted only briefly because the pastor’s message was really good and I didn’t want to miss any of it.”

“After the service,” he continued, “I asked my friend if he was feeling ok, and when he asked me why I was asking, I told him I saw that he was nodding off.”

“What’d he say?”

“He said he was fine, just tired because he stayed up late the night before watching something on television.”

“Probably not a real good excuse,” I commented, “but I guess that’s up to him.”

“It is,” Stan replied. “We all have the choice about to what and where we give our attention. In this instance, it was a choice between the pastor’s message and a television program. And I recall,” he continued, “the apostle Peter wrote something about this in one of his letters.”

“Obviously not about television,” I said, “so what did Peter write?”

“About paying attention to the word as a light shining in a dark place so that our hearts are filled with that light.”

“Paying attention to the word,” I repeated, “as contrasted to paying attention to something other than the word? Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan said. “Each one of us has the choice about what we focus on. God doesn’t force us to focus on Him and His word, but it sure can make a difference if that’s what we choose!”

“Seems to me,” I replied, “that paying attention like that could sure fit into the three steps of discipleship that we often talk about.”

“In what way?” Stan asked.

“Well,” I said, “the denying self part could be that I am to deny giving attention to that which takes me away from what God wants.”

“Good,” Stan replied. “And the next steps?”

“The taking up what God has for me to take up would be giving attention to what He wants, and, of course, the third step of following Him is the step of following Him wherever, however, and whenever He wants. And the ‘whenever’ is always.”

“Sounds like you got it, my friend,” Stan replied with a smile.


Bible verses to consider:

And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19.

Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105.

The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day. Proverbs 4:18.

Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for those you brought into my life to bring me to the truth that I am to pay attention to your provision of life eternally with you when my time here is completed. Thank you, too, for all you have for me to give attention to while you keep me on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do not pay attention to you as you want and deserve. Please forgive that foolish approach to living this life you have given to me. And Please help me follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, give you all of the attention you want and deserve. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you given attention to and accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him when it’s time? If no, why? Do you not realize it is the only thing to which you can give attention that really matters? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with paying attention to God on this side of eternity? If you sense the need for change in what gets your attention, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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