by Christopher Harbin

Where's My Attention?
Christopher B. Harbin
Mark 13:1-8

It's hard to keep our attention focused. We treat many children in our society for having a deficit of attention, yet we know it is a slippery slope for all of us. Some need the medication, others of us just lapse into a rambling span of attention, whether from the constantly shifting stimuli around us, the various demands on our time, the barrage of media influences, or a habitual drive for some external source of entertainment. With all the competing demands for our attention, even when we do focus, it is hard to focus on God and God's priorities. What does God want us to focus on, anyway?

The disciples had their own issues. They were amazed far too often by the same things others had taught them to value. They looked at life from the lens of their culture, their experience, their own points of view and frames of reference. Jesus was constantly calling them to see life from a different place. He wanted them to look at God's issues, not their own. It was a seemingly losing battle with them. No matter how often Jesus called them to a new assessment, they shifted back to their traditional concepts of life with its priorities. How often do we do the same?

One day they were leaving the Jerusalem Temple with its immense walls, the huge stones laid one upon another in mind-boggling fashion. The disciples pointed the enormity of the construction out to Jesus, sure that he would be just as impressed with it as they were. It was a masterful feat of engineering and craftsmanship. It gave every appearance of being able to last through eternity. Jesus wasn't impressed. He said, "You see all this? It won't last. It will be utterly destroyed." Do we focus on things that will just be destroyed?

That was the last thing they expected to hear from him! Imagine their consternation at his words. It was about as unbelievable as anything else Jesus had uttered. It did not fit at all in their exp ...

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