Funny, I didn’t know I owed Attention any money!
Interesting phrase “pay attention.” It seems to suggest that attention must always be something I have to place value upon if I am going to be aware of important things. The truth is I usually only “pay attention” to things I already think “deserve attention.” But what about those places in my life that “need attention” that I am not paying attention to? (bad grammar, I know, but still a good thing to keep in mind)
To go even further, I guess all of us have faced the bad results of failing to “pay attention” to areas in our lives that slip through the cracks of our attention, our energies, and our activities. I never will forget learning a valuable lesson early on when I moved into my new apartment as a young man now living on his own. I got my electricity bill and then promptly forgot to pay it because I simply wasn’t in the habit of having to pay my bills. Of course, it all came back to me when I came home from work and discovered the lights didn’t work!
While that may be a relatively harmless result of my failure to pay attention to important things, there are other areas of my life where a lack of attention has much more serious consequences.
In our Gospel Lesson today our Lord Jesus gives His followers (by the way, would you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ?) a powerful sermon on the absolute need to pay attention to some interesting issues in our lives. In Luke 12:32-40 the Lord begins His teaching by telling His followers some amazing and very good news. He tells them (and us) “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” The Lord reveals that God wants to give us His Kingdom. Give it to us! And all we have to do is actually live as if that were true, as if that really is our ultimate destiny, to keep us focused on the following ways He teaches us to actually keep that amazing truth as the center of our lives.
He goes on to describe the person who pays attention to the first message that it is God’s “good pleasure” to give us His Kingdom, to give us all He has in exchange for all we have. Not a bad deal, if you asked me. The person who pays attention to this promise and actually believes it will (hold on to your hats) sell their possessions and give alms. Isn’t it interesting that the very FIRST result of believing that God wants to give me His kingdom is that I am free from any possessiveness of my own stuff? But that’s what happens when a person pays attention to God’s Great Promise and our Great Destiny.
Then the Lord explains that “where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be also.” That makes sense. What you truly love, what you pay attention to, is always seen in your priorities. It isn’t whether I’m paying attention or not; it’s what I’m paying attention to that reveals my true self.
The Lord wraps up His teaching encouraging His followers to “pay attention” and stay awake to this powerful reality. If you don’t “pay attention” to where your heart is, it will end up in a place that is totally unworthy of its true calling. But when you do “pay attention” to your heart’s desires, your priorities, and your love, you won’t be surprised when the “thief” comes to rob you of your joy, your peace, and your relationship with God. You’ll be ready for the “thief” and you’ll be successful in defending yourself because you were paying attention!
Today, what do you “pay attention” to in your life? The markets? The weather? The office politics? Fashion? Ego? When was the last time you did a priorities inventory of your life? Are you paying attention to that which is most important, most valuable? Are you even aware what that is?
The place to start such an internal inventory is to discover where your heart is, then you’ll know the status of your priorities and whether you are paying attention to the right things. So, today, “pay attention!”