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Monday, February 28, 2011

Invitation to attend

18 If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. 
(Proverbs 29:18)

It has occurred to me that not knowing what God is doing is often the condition of many of our hearts each day - we are "along for the ride", but oblivious to the destination.  One of the questions the pastor asked yesterday was, "What is this Christian experience all about anyway?"  It occurred to me this morning that many of us would have a hard time with that question - not because we aren't enjoying our salvation, but because we really aren't sure what we are doing with our salvation.

Our passage puts it pretty plainly.  We can head out for a destination - not knowing the reason we are travelling the road we are on, oblivious to the traveling companions we have along the way - all the while making forward progress of some sort.  The question we need to ask is if it the "right" progress?  Are we really heading in the way we should be heading?  There is much to be said for "blind trust" in God's plan for our lives - but I think God wants us to have at least "glimpses" of his purpose!  Without a vision, the people perish.

Attending to what God reveals takes some pretty intense effort on our parts.  First, and foremost, we have to be exposed to his truth.  There are a variety of ways to be exposed - through a message preached, a blog written, or by discovery of his truths directly from his Word.  We can be just as "under-nourished" spiritually as we can be physically - just by taking in stuff we don't really need at that moment, but it is convenient.  Just living on a diet of truth that someone else has gleaned for us from the Word is like eating pre-prepared food all the time.  We will receive something, but we won't have the reward of discovering the many ingredients that went into its preparation.

Second, we have to be invested in the process of discovery of God's plan.  Our writer puts it as "attending to" - in other words, paying attention!  When we attend to what God reveals, we are devoting ourselves to the mission of following what he purposes for us.  We are committed to tend that truth as though it were a secret garden just revealed to us for our enjoyment.  We are invested in the outcome of what that garden produces - not just in the enjoyment of its wonderful fragrances.

Last, but certainly not least, God is the one doing the revealing - we are simply placing ourselves in a position to be available to the revelation.  There are many times I hear news reports about a comet that is passing by - not set to appear again for another fifty years.  I want to be able to see it, but am I willing to pay the price of being up at 2 a.m. to see it?  Not really!  If it could show up before 9 p.m. I'd be much happier!  I don't get to see the comet, even though it is right there revealing itself to me for my enjoyment, all because I am not willing to place myself in a position to enjoy its revealing!  

When we place ourselves in the position to receive revelation - open heart, readied mind, available spirit, obedient will - we are never disappointed.  God's delight is in blessing us with more revelation of his plan and purpose when our heart is set on discovery.  His wisdom is imparted when a mind is readied to receive truth.  His Spirit is set on opening us up to new possibilities when our spirit is in alignment with his.  His leading becomes our delight when our will is submitted obediently to his purpose.  In fact, as our passage says, we become "most blessed" when we are open to God's revelation.  The key is in "attending" to that revelation.