Mark 8: 11-21
By: Jason Phelps, Director of Worship & the Arts, Oikos Church
May 17, 2018
Paying attention is something that I’m not naturally good at, skillful at, or even desire to do all the time. It’s easy for me to check out, to become lost in my thoughts, to disconnect. To disconnect from the present, to disconnect from my wife and children, to disconnect from a meeting, and disconnect from the Lord. What I have found in my own life is that when I am not paying attention, I miss out. So my word for 2018 has been: Be present and pay attention. I believe that if we want to experience revival in our lives, churches, and our city, we must be present, we must pay attention.
The disciples in this story have already been a part of the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000 and have found themselves bickering over not having enough bread for each other in the boat with Jesus. Oh, how I relate to these disciples. How easily I forget what Jesus has done in me and through me. Over hearing their argument, Jesus tells them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees who continuously demand miracle after miracle and choosing not to believe. Jesus rebukes his disciples and sternly asks them, “Don’t you understand? Are your hearts hard? Do your eyes work? How about your ears? Do you not remember? Are you paying attention?” He then reminds them of the miraculous and wonderful provision He provided the crowds and how they had plenty left over.
My invitation for you is to join me in paying attention. Paying attention to the Lord and being present with others. Loving the Lord and others enough to listen to their words, to watch what they are doing, to experience life with them. Revival will happen when we are present because we get to see what is happening, to share common experiences, and when we pay attention it is possible for us to remember the great things the Lord has done which we can cling on to by faith.
Lord, we confess to you that we have not been as present as we could have been with you and with others. Assure us that when we are tempted to check out that we remember that it is worth it to keep our eyes and ears open. Help us to love others enough to be present in conversations and experiences. For when we are present our emotions are in line with our experiences. Help us not to miss out on what you are doing so that we may join you in this exciting mission you have for us. Thank you for paying attention to us even when we are disconnected from you.