It Pays to Pay Attention
“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight and see why the bush is not burned up.’ When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him …” Exodus 3:2-4a That got Moses’ attention.
In contrast, the disciples on the road to Emmaus were so busy and focused on the events of the Passover/Crucifixion weekend that they did not recognize the stranger walking with them. When they finally stopped to reflect, they saw the stranger was Jesus. Unlike Moses, these disciples did not engage in a dialogue with the Lord about their next assignment during their encounter with Him. It was only after the walk was over did the disciples notice the inner stirring—they had experienced Christ. “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was taking to us on the road…?” Luke 24:32
Notice that in the era of the New Covenant the Law is written on our hearts. (Jer 31:33-34) The burning is not external; it is internal.
As was the case with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, sometimes events in our life make no sense. Life’s tests are mundane, not momentous. They may seem relatively inconsequential until we learn to pay attention and listen for God’s voice. God’s will for us, his direction for us, generally has more to do with
• what gives us a new life in Him,
• what energizes us, and
• what gives us delight.
This means the fire within us is extinguished by those things that de-energize us. The principle is that we are strengthened by our strengths and weakened, burned out, by our weaknesses. Paying attention to our strengths is “paying attention.” We are free to accomplish His objectives when we use our strengths for Him. That is real freedom.
Take time to meditate and turn to the Lord; begin to reflect His glory as Moses did. We become transformed in our thinking as our agenda is conformed to His agenda. This is not limiting; it is expanding! It is being transformed from one degree of glory to another.
Go ahead and risk giving your life–your agenda–to Him. See what can be accomplished if you are not fearful, but faithful to let Him work in you and through you for His good pleasure. One way to make that happen is to register or login to MissionNext to see what adventure awaits.
Founder, Chief Innovation Officer
Nelson is the generic Evangelical baby-boomer. Born in 1946, raised in the C&MA, he attended Urbana ’67 in college. He holds an MS degree in Chemical Engineering and worked in R&D positions in American industry for 33 years. Nelson is an inventor with formal training in methods of creative problem-solving. He was a founding elder at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, CT (1982) and served in many leadership capacities of what is now one of the largest Evangelical churches in New England. In 1998 Nelson founded the Finishers Project, now MissionNext. Locally he attends a Torah study and is chairman of the sewer commission to serve among unchurched leaders.