What Gets Our Attention

In today’s world the competition for our attention is fierce. From a human aspect friends, family, and strangers ask we pay attention to them. Technology purrs, beeps, and flashes beckoning our attention. Our work, jobs, and bosses, pay for our attention. Play and fun entice our attention. And there, somewhere in the midst of the cacophony of voices and blur of activity is God.

My dog, a 145 pound Boerboel (like an English Mastiff), loves attention. She’s quite spoiled and has learned many tricks as to how to get the attention she craves. She is so tall that when I sit at the kitchen table working on my computer, she can put her head under my arm and demand I pet her. She brings her toy to me, so we can play fetch or chase. She puts her paw on my lap when I refuse to acknowledge her, or nibbles on my arm, or barks in my ear.

When she wants me to wake up, she puts her nose on my arm as I lie in bed and moves it up and down, the cold and wet better than any alarm at bringing me instantly awake. If I roll over, intending to ignore her, she jumps on the bed. Often, she doesn’t even want anything other than that I get out of bed and come to the kitchen. No outside, no food, no water, just wakeful presence.

Human beings, like dogs, were created with a deep need for relationship. God planted that need inside each of us. A need, not just for other humans, but for God himself. In Genesis, we see the initial ease of that relationship. God and Adam spoke and walked together. They knew each other, and while God held authority over Adam, we see the compassion and love God had for the man when he allows Adam to name all the animals and then forms woman to be his helper because, “it is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 1:18a NIV)

Even after the path of sin began by Adam and Eve and their decision in the Garden, God has sought relationship with his creation. He set forth ways to commune with him, through prayer and the Word he presented to man through the Holy Spirit. Believers have the Spirit inside that nudges and bumps us, much like my dog, when we become self-absorbed and fail to acknowledge God’s place in our lives–when we devote more attention to the other things in our lives rather than the One thing.

Jesus came to bridge the chasm created by sin. He is the only way to approach the Father since it is only by living and trusting in Jesus we are made righteous and clean. Paul declares in 2 Corinthians

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

So how do you decide what gets your attention? Do you have a routine that keeps you in touch with your Heavenly Father? Do you maintain a regular prayer and Bible time? Do you have a favorite devotion or spot or journal? Or are you like many of us who struggle to place our attention where it belongs? Who get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to include the forever-and-ever?

If the latter is you, how does God seek to regain your attention? Does he nudge and cajole, or is he jumping on your bed trying to wake you up?

Lord God, I pray we will awaken to your nudges, be alert to your whispers, and remember that You are our Father, our Creator, and our Lord. May we be ever faithful, trusting in Jesus, and abiding in his love. I pray we will make a renewed effort to seek you. To walk and talk with you as you once did with Adam in the Garden, sharing our praises and our concerns, our joy and our grief. It is in the name of Jesus, the Savior of the World, I pray. Amen.