The Importance of Paying Attention

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,

The Christian evangelist and author Leighton Ford wrote, “From the time we were children we were told to ‘pay attention,’ as if this were the simplest thing in the world.  But in fact attentiveness is one of the most difficult concepts to grasp and one of the hardest disciplines to learn.  For we are very distractible people in a very distracting world.”  

Whether it was from our parents, a teacher in class, a coach on the athletic field, or a supervisor in the office, I’m sure we’ve all heard those words “pay attention” many times.  As Leighton Ford notes, that can be hard for us because we are easily distracted – by our own thoughts, by an unresolved problem we are facing, be a special approaching event we are eagerly looking forward to, etc.  Complicating it all, this world can be very distracting. It dangles before us many things that capture our attention, even when our attention should be focused elsewhere. It could be the news headline that the lottery is up to $100 million and we start dreaming about what we would do if we won, or the previews of an upcoming episode of our favorite television program.  And who hasn’t been distracted by their smart phone/the internet/social media, etc.

When someone tells us to “pay attention,” it is because there is something important we need to focus on.  Not surprisingly, then, we find that phrase often in Scripture. One example is Heb. 2:1, which states, “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”  The writer is referring to our salvation made possible through Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection.  That is what we must not only pay attention to, but for emphasis, it says “We must pay the most careful attention.” 

In a world that not only is filled with distractions, but in many ways seeks to undermine the Gospel, we must continually pay careful attention to the Gospel – keeping it before us, reflecting on it, coming to understand it more deeply as we study Scripture and the writings of insightful Christian authors, lest the distractions of life cause us to gradually drift away from it.  As such, “pay the most careful attention” is not so much a command as an invitation – God’s invitation to have our lives rooted in what is ultimately and eternally true – God’s saving love for us through Jesus Christ.  May I encourage all of us to regularly pay careful attention to this great news!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bob

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