Attention – by Pastor Chandler

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I have a picture of my son, Salem, and my daughter, Rinna, posing with some of their good friends. As all the young friends played outside, I had asked them to gather up for a picture. I called for their attention, “Look up here at the camera and smile!” When I thought everyone was looking I snapped the image. I captured a beautiful picture of these wonderful children. The sun was just beginning its descent to the horizon, the sky was blue in the background and speckled with small, white clouds, and the children were all smiling as they enjoyed fellowship with one another. The photo was outstanding. At least, that’s what I thought at first. Then, I noticed my three-year-old son wasn’t looking at the phone when I snapped the shot. He was smiling alright, but he wasn’t looking at me. Everyone else was smiling as well and starting right where I needed them to stare. Salem, on the other hand, was turning to look at all his friends’ smiling faces.

I asked again, “Everyone look up here!” Everyone did; except Salem. So, as I went to take the photo again, I called Salem’s name to have him look at me. But his response was no different. You see, he was so happy to be with his friends, to be sitting next to them, to be playing with them, and to be in a smiling picture with them he couldn’t stop looking at them. He wanted to capture the moment for himself. He wanted to see his friends’ joy and happiness right then and there and not on a picture several minutes later. He couldn’t take his eyes off them. I took a handful of pictures and Salem never moved. He just smiled and stared at his friends. What special joy filled his little heart as he got to smile and laugh with his friends.

We, my wife and I, have noticed this is a common theme for Salem. Not the ignoring us or the refusal to look at a camera, but the desire he has to be around his friends. When we tell him we will see his friends a little spark snaps in his heart and his face lights up. He has so much joy surrounded by friends.

In John, Jesus said this to his disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

Does that spark a roaring flame of joy and wonder in your heart? Does that cause your face to light up a bit? Jesus is our friend. What a wonderful truth. We have an ever constant, always present friend in the King, Jesus.

So, I ask you, where is your attention? Are you distracted looking elsewhere when your friend, Jesus, is sitting next to you? Are you consumed with worldly passions when the Messiah is always near?

Perhaps we could learn a small lesson from Salem. Jesus, our closest friend, is here with us. Where are we staring? Where is our attention? How are we distracted? My son could not be convinced to look away from his friends. How easily are we convinced to turn our eyes away from Christ?

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