Summary: Few people make a conscious decision to reject God. Most people just never get around to making a commitment and drift right by the safe harbor of Heaven.
“Are You Paying Attention?”
Moms and dads are accustomed to dishing out advice. To try and guide a son or daughter through the narrow straights of life is part of the responsibility of a parent. Some guidance, if not heeded, will cost, but the price is not too severe. “Brush your teeth before you go to bed,” mom says. If you don’t take her advice then you might have to suffer the sounds of a dentist’s drill. Oh, it won’t be a walk in the park, but you will get over it. “Be sure and write down all of your homework assignments,” dad chimes in. If you fail to heed the advice then you will probably make a bad grade. No big deal, right? I mean you can make it up on the next test or maybe the teacher will let you do some work for extra credit.
Some advice is far more costly if not taken seriously and applied to life. “Save yourself for marriage. Don’t allow yourself to get in a situation where your passions control you,” mom tells her daughter, dad tells his son. If you fail to listen and heed the advice you won’t need mom or dad to say, “I told you so.” You will be reminded day-in and day-out of the decision you have made by the cries of a baby. “Don’t do drugs and get drunk,” dad tells you as you leave the house on Friday night. If you think he is just an old man who doesn’t want you to have any fun you may end up in jail, find yourself addicted to what will destroy you, or worse, in a body bag because of your failure to heed dad’s advice. “Don’t hang out with kids who lack character,” mom and dad tell you over and over again. If you think your wisdom exceeds that of your father and you go ahead and make friends with the wrong crowd you could pay with the loss of your reputation.
Preachers and counselors are accustomed to handing out advice. They try and help people make another go at a marriage gone bad. They try and help parents and children reconcile when relationships turn sour. They try and help people who’ve found themselves walking on the wild side, begin to walk on the Lord’s side. They try and instill in others what is truly meaningful in life and what is nothing more than decoration.
Teachers and coaches are quite proficient at offering advice to help young people become skilled at everything from history and biology to form tackling and free throws. They work on the little things, never overlook minor deficiencies, and praise a job well done.
Advice comes to us from all angles. There are many, many counselors and advisors all around us who are willing to give us good counsel concerning things that really matter in life. If we will pay attention and heed the advice of those who truly want to help, those who are equipped to help us, then we can experience the benefits of wise counsel. If we disregard the advice of others and try and go it alone then we are sure to find ourselves lost on the high seas of life, taking bad turns whenever we make a move, and wondering what has gone wrong.
Among all of the counselors and teachers that are provided for us there is one bit of advice, that if we fail to take it seriously, if we take it too lightly, if we decide to get around to it one day – it will cost us everything. Disregarding the advice of the wise old sage of Hebrew lore will mean nothing less than utter despair and destruction. The consequences are real. The price is far too high to consider. To miss the ship would mean to miss everything of value, everything that is precious, and all that is priceless.
Today, as we turn once again to the powerful book of Hebrews we find the most serious insight, the most pressing proposition, and the most priceless promise that will ever come our way. I pray that if you have slept through services in the past, or never paid attention before, that today you will heed the advice of the ages of wisdom and consider the cost of letting the promise drift right by you. Let’s take a look at Hebrews 2:1-4.
1We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:1-4 NIV)