by Tom Brennen
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‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers’ (Acts 2:42).
A note in my study Bible on this passage reminds us that to ‘be devoted’ is to give ‘rapt attention’ to that particular thing. So the early Christians gave rapt attention to teaching, being a community and sharing the sacrament of communion and prayer.
When was the last time that you could honestly say that your church had your rapt attention? More importantly, when was the last time that God had your rapt attention?
Yesterday, I spoke briefly about younger generations being tagged as selfish. These younger generations are also generalised as always being on their phones and technology. As a teacher, I see that my students struggle to manage technology use.
But they are not alone. Just last week, outside my school, I saw two of my students on their phones, joined by their parents and one of their grandparents. All five of them were sitting there on a glorious late spring day, heads down, consuming whatever was on their screen. The screen had their rapt attention.
I don’t believe that technology is more evil than good. Having a myriad of resources at my fingertips helped me write this series of devotions! But we must be careful.
We must be careful not just with technology but with all of our endeavours. Perhaps our work has more attention than our relationship with God? Maybe our hobbies have more attention than our involvement with our church community? As Matthew 6:21 reminds us, ‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’.
The early church grew off the back of rapt attention to worshipping in word and sacrament, in being a Christian community and prayer. What might your life look like if this area of your life had your full attention? What changes do you need to make so that it is?
Start small. Maybe you’ve fallen out of the habit of weekly worship or daily prayer? Perhaps you’ve not connected with a fellow congregation member for some time? Perhaps your Bible has gathered a bit of dust? Pick one area and work on that.
You, and your community, will be blessed, I’m sure.
Lord, forgive us when we give you and your church less than our full attention. Guide us as we seek to live lives that are full and bless others. Amen.