Have you ever been with someone that asks you a question and before you have the chance to answer they’re off in another direction? I had someone ask me to explain something I was involved in. I started my answer with “Well…This is what I’m doing…” This literally happened. I had 10 seconds. Before I got any further, this person was off on an entirely different topic. I’m not talking about the times I run into someone in the grocery store with frozen puff pastry in my cart and they have ice in theirs. I’m talking about time which has been specifically set aside for this exact purpose…to share. Like dinner with friends, a family gathering, a beverage of choice after work.
I’ve seen this happen more times than I care to acknowledge. Not just to me but to others as well. It leaves me pondering…If we are unable to pay attention to a person sitting right in front of us, how on earth are we able to hear the small, still voice of God?
Somehow I have a difficult time picturing Moses, on the mountain top with God, counting rocks and tossing sticks as He wrote on the stone tablets. I wasn’t there but I imagine Moses was paying attention. Can you imagine the message that would have been conveyed if when Martha went to Jesus to tell Him Lazarus was dead He simply said “Hmmm. You wanna go bake some bread?” Or when the lame man was lowered through the roof to recieve healing from Jesus to enable him to walk, He said “Bummer. You know that pimple on your chin? Here, let me get rid of that for you.” He paid attention to what was said and acted accordingly.
The short form definition of attention given by Merriam Webster is…
: the act or power of carefully thinking about, listening to, or watching someone or something
: notice, interest, or awareness
: special care or treatment
There is a unique compassion transferred when we pay attention to others. When we love as Christ loved, we lay our “self” aside. This simple act highlights their value. We show we care.
Sometimes it’s paying attention to the details of the pain, trial or grief another is going through. Other times it’s paying attention to the details surrounding a moment of joy or the sharing of a project or job well done.
What does our attention say about who we are? Do we pay more attention to a 4 hour football game, keeping all other distractions at bay, that ended with the winning touchdown of our home team or to the Brother or Sister in Christ who just wants to share, is hurting, struggling or lonely and requires more than a few minutes of our time?
Romans 1:12(MSG) But don’t think I’m not expecting to get something out of this, too! You have as much to give me as I do to you.