Devotion #13: "Pay Attention"

Hebrews 2:1-4.  We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

 

Pay attention.

What gets your attention? Sounds, colors, rude people, polite people, Christmas lights, coffee? For me, it’s the word “free.” I like free things. As long as there is not a catch, I will enter a free raffle, take a free sticker, or eat a free sample. I like winning free things—from watches to a month’s worth of bagels to gift cards. When I see a sign or ad that advertises something free, it grabs my attention. But it’s up to me to stop what I’m doing and pay attention.

Paying attention and grabbing attention are two different things.

The majority of people who lived at the time of Jesus’ birth missed his coming. He did not come with fireworks and frills, but rather just the opposite; the messiah’s arrival hardly grabbed anyone’s attention—except Herod’s—because most did not expect him in that place or time. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews recognizes how human attention is somewhat magnetized to what is shiny, bold, and new, and how without careful effort, that attention will always drift, even if we have heard from God and have placed our faith in Christ. Things will always seem to get in the way of us going to church, or reading Scripture, or spending time in prayer, or even asking much-needed hard questions. While it may seem at the time that those small, sometimes boring things seem like a drop in the bucket of our faith, it’s paying attention to them that bolsters our relationship with Christ. While some of Jesus’ ministry was confirmed through signs, wonders, and miracles, the majority involved the disciples following him and listening to his words in the daily grind, day in and day out.

What’s really worth paying attention to in life rarely grabs our attention. It’s still and small and always there, waiting quietly. It usually requires us to prioritize how we’re directing our energy and time on a daily and weekly basis. Listening to the Good News of Jesus is never a one-and-done deal, as faith in Jesus isn’t a raffle to win or a box to check. It’s a relationship. And growing in your relationship with Jesus doesn’t just happen.

Are you listening?

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