This is part four in the “Preparing For Sunday” series.
I had some teachers in college who were absolutely horrendous. They set world records for boringness, and I think they even bored themselves. They droned on and on in a monotone voice about things that mattered very little to me, such as the annual rainfall in Belize, or the formation of cumulus clouds (as you can see I had a weather class I disliked very much). By the end of each lecture, 90% of the class was either sleeping or had that glazed over look that comes with stupefying boredom. Paying attention was certainly optional.
But friends, paying attention to the preaching of God’s word is never optional. Hear the words of Jesus in Mark 4:24, “And he said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.'” The preaching of God’s word is a sacred, holy thing, and if we are to please God we must pay close attention to it.
Listening to God’s word being preached is not the same as listening to a lecture on biology. A lecture on biology makes no claim on our lives. We have the option of applying or disregarding what we hear. But God’s word always makes massive claims on our lives. God’s word is always calling us to something, whether that be faith, repentance, joy, thankfulness, or humility. We don’t have the option of applying God’s word; we must apply God’s word.
Another difference between a biology lecture and the preaching of God’s word is the teacher himself. A biology teacher has been commissioned by a university to communicate information. A preacher has been commissioned by God Himself to proclaim glorious, life-changing, soul-stirring truth. When we fail to pay attention to the preached word, we fail to pay attention to God Himself.
So by God’s grace, let us resolve to pay attention to the preaching of God’s word. Let’s do whatever is necessary to pay attention. Take notes, don’t take notes, sit in the front, sit in the back, sit with other people, sit by yourself. Do what it takes to pay attention to the preaching of God’s word, so that you might apply the truth to your life.
Friends, I have failed in this area so many times, yet I’m confident that God will help me change by His grace. He wants us to change more than we want to change, and He is eager to give us the grace that is necessary.