In this bible study blog, based on what I learned in church, I will focus on Paying Attention.
How difficult is it to pay attention today? Let’s say on a scale of one to ten, with one being easy to pay attention and ten being the most difficult. My guess is the majority of us would hit between an eight and a nine to be generous.
My granddaughter, Haylie, has the perfect solution for not paying attention. This is called not paying attention intentionally. I find this happens most when I tell her it’s time to take her vitamins or brush her teeth. If she isn’t paying attention, then I never said it. Truth be known, I can relate to that!
There are so many voices vying for our attention. Television, radio, Internet, and social media, just to name a few. It’s difficult to find that quiet place just to think and be still. It bleeds into the raising of our kids. We think, in order to be a good parent, we have to keep our kids busy all the time. Sports, dance, drill team, band, cheerleading, arts, crafts, going, going, going all the time. Until we become the merchant in search of the pearl.
The only thing all this activity gets us is exhausted. Haylie’s like, “Can I get an Amen, Memaw!”
Well, maybe not at this particular moment.
But something is missing because we think there should be more than what we see. In Matthew 13:45-46, the pearls are so precious that the merchant sells all he owns just to obtain them. The merchant even goes so far as to redirect his life for this treasure. Like the merchant, we buy into the myth of foregoing all to obtain that one gift we think will make us happy. Only it doesn’t.
At the ripe old age of ten, I decided to cross through a field my mother warned me not to attempt. Each day, walking to school, I passed by this field—the home of one angry old bull by the name of Walter. You see, Walter took great delight in chasing those who dared enter his domain. But, every time I passed by, that field just seemed to be calling my name. I needed that fix of doing something others feared doing. I wanted to master that challenge. I’m sure, like the merchant, I would have sold my soul to the devil himself to bask in the glory of celebrity. The kid who faced Walter and won!
Finally, one day when I could stand it no longer, I jumped the fence and started running across the field. I felt an adrenaline rush like I’d never experienced. So caught up in my own magnificence, I never saw it coming. Wham! From out of nowhere, Walter emerged and I found myself flying through the air. Fortunately, the man whose property I’d just crossed and who owned Walter, took pity on my sorry little self and came to my rescue. That just goes to show how not paying attention can literally kick your butt. In the end (no pun intended) the challenge, the glory, the treasure wasn’t worth it.
There are some treasures that money can’t buy. So, would we recognize the greatest pearl of all if we saw it? Would we know it’s price if we heard it? It’s a fact that one can’t sell magic to a wise man. Because the wise man is able to read the true price tags of life, he pays attention.
So, if things get way too complicated and you find you just can’t pay attention to it all—follow Haylie’s example. Take your blankie, don’t look anybody in the eye, and cover your head. You can pay attention another day.
Here’s what makes paying attention all worth it. Ultimately, Jesus is the pearl. All we need do is seek, find, and share the love of Jesus. That’s the prize. That’s the true happiness. That’s when happiness wins. And the best part is, you don’t even have to buy it. Jesus already paid that price.
If you pay attention, you might even hear it. You know that story. It’s an old, old story—the story of Jesus and his love. It satisfies my longing. Like nothing else can do.
So, when we go to the Father and ask for help, shall we ask Him to help us to always pay attention so as not to make the same initial mistake the merchant made? Shall we ask Him to make us wise enough to know His love is sufficient and to keep us ever mindful of where to find true happiness? Finally, shall we ask Him to show us that Jesus is the pearl and all we need do is recognize it and pay attention? Sounds like a plan to me.
I’m sure Haylie would be proud.
And that’s what I learned in Church. See ya next time!
About Regina Stone Matthews
Regina Stone Matthews is an award-winning children’s book author who lives in Texas. Her award-winning children’s books Words and Actions, Tracks in the Snow, and I’m a Detective: Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson When I Dream received the Christian Literary Awards’ Reader’s Choice Award. I’m a Detective also received the Christian Literary Awards’ Henri Award. Her other books include Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson: When I Dream, and Dealing With Margaret: Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson When I Dream. Regina is currently working on an adult novel, which will be available in late 2016.
Regina is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, The Rockwall Christian Writer’s Group, and the North Forty Storytellers Guild. She also founded the Facebook Group Kids Inspiring Kids to recognize inspirational children. For more information about Regina, visit her website.