“Pay attention.” We’re told that from the time our parents start talking to us.
We’re told it by teachers in school, by police officers who approach us at traffic stops, by spouses who think we’re not listening, by nurses who want us to take our pills.
Our whole lives, we hear, “Pay attention.”
Yet, so often in life, we fail to do so – especially around truly important matters that might not seem so at the time.
Yesterday, an elder in my congregation was travelling just outside town, when she saw an ambulance turn down a familiar sideroad. And something told her she should follow it.
Now, this elder is not given to following ambulances; she’d have nothing to gain by doing so, and didn’t have medical training to be able to help. But there was this nudge inside her, and she paid attention.
As it turns out, the ambulance was going to the home of a fellow congregant.
She followed the ambulance into the driveway, and got out to comfort the spouse of the person who was being treated.
To say the least, this would have been an awkward thing to have done had she not had a relationship with the people involved, and she had no idea where the ambulance was going when she started following it. But there was this nudge…so she did, and was able to minister to the spouse.
The good news is that the individual was taken to hospital, was treated, released, and is recovering at home.
If you’ve ever had to call 911 for a member of your household and seen that person carted away in an ambulance, you know how helpless you feel. This would only be compounded by being alone, waiting for information about your loved one.
So imagine how wonderful it must have been for the person comforted by the woman who followed the ambulance, because of this nudge to which she paid attention.
Most often, when we are driving somewhere, we have someplace to go, and usually on a schedule. Even if we feel a nudge, we tend to ignore it because we have someplace to go and a timetable to follow.
What if we were to make room in our schedules – some margin, if you will – so that when we feel those nudges, we can pay attention to them and act?
It may not be something so dramatic as following an ambulance. It could be something as simple as making a phone call, or writing a card, or saying the right words at the right time to a loved one. The scenarios are endless, and the opportunities are endless, if we will only pay attention.
After all, that nudge could well be from the Holy Spirit.
Will you pay attention today?
“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding” (Proverbs 2.1-2, NLT).