16 March, 2016 40 days of change-Lent, 2016
Attentive – Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. Proverbs 8:34
I’m sure teachers often think of the adage ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink’. You can present the lesson, but the student may not pick it up. We are all somewhat attention deficit. There are lessons to be learned all around us, it’s just a question of whether we are paying attention sufficiently to pick up on them. The other day, as I was reaching into an almost empty box of granola bars, I noticed in black bold print written on the front of the box 150 calories/each. I knew the box did not come like that, and the script looked very much like Becky’s handiwork. I asked her if she had left the message, and she smiled and said ‘yes, sometime ago’. I had gone to the box daily (okay maybe more than once a day) for weeks and had never noticed the message that she was trying to send. That’s a lot of calories for me to be consuming as a daily (or more) snack. It makes me wonder how many other important lessons am I missing, not just from my spouse, but also from God. Are we seeing the writing on the box?
In the gospels there’s a story of Jesus’ first interaction with his disciple Nathaniel. Nathaniel is brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew, and Jesus greets him with the reminder that he had seen Nathaniel under a tree days before. You wonder if anything got by Jesus. Just this past Sunday we talked at VEC about Jesus having spotted wee little Zacchaeus perched up in a tree. He was ever watching for every day things like coins, trees, or people from which he could draw a life-changing lesson. He told the Pharisees to watch world events for there would be signs of God’s plan unfolding. He cautioned his listeners to watch for deception. He told his disciples to ‘watch and pray’ on the last night, and I’m sure that was not just a one-time directive, but was his hope for them and all his future disciples going forward. A hope he had for all of us.
As we’ve acknowledged before in these reflections, God is a communicator, and he sends messages to us to learn in creation, through the scripture, through others, and His Spirit. I expect that God has some lessons that are unfolding for us today. As you leave your home this morning, look around in creation and watch for God’s handiwork in describing to you something about himself. As you interact with others, be listening for some word that sounds more like God speaking than the one who has uttered the word. Be especially attentive to your thought life today, for the thought that comes out of the blue, may be the thought that comes from the Spirit. Practice attentiveness today and pick up on those not-so subtle messages God is sending you. As you lay in bed tonight, what did you see –– what did you learn?