When playing a certain card game, my friend Harley likes to remind me that it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on—what’s “trump” and what’s not. If I make a misplay (usually causing me to fall far behind or to lose completely) he’ll cheerily look at me across the table and announce, “Bruce! You gotta pay attention!!”
Of course, he’s right.
Paying attention is pretty much always a good thing to do. In games and in our walk with Jesus.
You probably know Hebrews 12 but here you go, verses 1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Through the years my wife and I have had dogs and one thing I’ve improved in is teaching a dog how to “heel.” I learned how to do this from a lady who wrote a book about how Hollywood animals are trained to perform on screen. It’s all about getting, and holding, their attention. If you are training a dog, you put them then on a leash with a collar, go for a walk and, when the dog runs off to the side or ahead of you, you turn quickly at a right angle to their desired route. If you do it correctly, it might take them right off the ground, or simply spin them a bit. Your intention isn’t to hurt them (and I never have with this maneuver) but what does happen is that dog starts paying attention and watches your every move. It works. Watch a TV show or a movie that has dogs; see if they are watching the actors or looking off to the side a bit at someone that you never see. You’ll see.
Anyway, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus the same way a puppy needs to watch its master going out for a nice walk. We gotta pay attention! How do we do that?
By reading and paying attention to His Word. Reading the Bible is the best way to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Jesus wrote the book on faith. Let’s pay attention and not go running off after every distraction that might promise special knowledge, guidance, or power. Pay attention to Jesus. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Him. You’ll see.
Bruce Stumbo – North American Mission Ministry Lead