Giving God your attention

Published 1:53 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2018

1 Samuel 3:1-20

Do you remember when you were young and you tried to get the attention of that cute boy or girl? The amount of time you spent in the mirror primping, trying to get your hair just right. Perhaps making sure you got the best tan possible or tried to get that beach body to impress others. You wanted to be noticed and appreciated. As we get older and our beach bodies start to sag with flab, other things get our attention. Our joints hurt when we get out of bed. As a matter of fact, everything begins to hurt more every day. We begin to realize that our pastimes and hobbies move from partying, shopping, yard work, golf, and playing with the kids to doctors appointments, refilling our medicine, taking our Miralax and rubbing on more ligament. I’ll give you a second to stop laughing at the truth of those realities. There are many things from health to news to culture that vies for our attention.

However, none as powerful, persistent, or persuasive as that of the Spirit of the Living God. As you read this scripture from Samuel, you will notice that God was trying to speak to Samuel. He finally got his attention, but it took three things that I think we can learn from. First, Samuel was laying down. Second, he was quietly lying in the temple of the Lord. Last, we took direction from Eli. Samuel was still. He was willing to just be. He wasn’t in the midst of his busy schedule or running all over the place doing things. He was still. We pack our lives full of stuff. Things to just keep us busy. For God to get our attention, we need to stop and just be still. Next, Samuel was quiet. In our culture today, silence makes us uncomfortable. It almost scares us. We will cut on the TV just so we have background sound when we are doing something else. As someone once said, “silence can be deafening.” Lastly, after repeated trips to see what Eli wanted, Eli knew it was God who was calling Samuel, so he told him to go back and lay down and when he called him to say, “yes Lord, your servant is listening.” Sometimes in life, God provides us with others who offer us advice and direction that help us engage into a relationship with the Almighty. And sometimes, God uses us to be that one who offers that advice to others.

All this is God’s way of saying, “may I have a few moments with you please?” He is kind and gentle and loving. God can however get the attention of the stubborn in other ways. Ways that hurt at first. Ways that break us down, in order to humbly build us up. Those times are tough for us all. Maybe God is saying, “we can do this the easy way or the hard way … and you may not like the hard way.” But I guarantee you will learn from being blind to his presence; you will probably never forget that lesson. So ask God to open the eyes of your heart today. My hope is that you will give him your attention. That is what I pray.

Tim Beck is pastor of Kenbridge United Methodist Church. His email address is revtimbeck@