Summary: Distractions are causing us to lose focus of our mission. God wants to have our full attention.
May I Have Your Attention Please
Brothers and sisters I am sure a lot of you have been in places where you have heard a voice come over the intercom; or in perhaps in a crowd that said, “May I have your attention please”. Usually, no matter what you are doing, you stop and listen. There are some companies that use flamboyant advertising stunts or things that capture the senses of seeing, hearing and even smelling and all they are saying is, “may I have your attention please”. All these situations are normally used to show or tell you something of vital importance.
Brothers and sisters, looking at these different ways to get attention, it seems that at different moments in our lives God is trying to get our attention. When we go through our trials and tribulations it not only strengthens us but it is sometimes God’s way of saying, “may I have your attention please”. There are times in our lives that we have downfalls and setbacks, which some people will call bad luck, or unfortunate consequences.
Yet if we were to stand still and think about it, we see God saying, “May I have your attention please”. Many sites we see and sounds we hear are God’s way of getting our attention. In our text this morning we see God getting the attention of Jonah. When God first called Jonah, Jonah tried to run away. The people of Nineveh were enemies to the people of Israel. Jonah, knowing that the mercy of God may follow his preaching, doesn’t want to because it would be like helping the enemy.
Jonah found that his failure to pay attention to God only caused a mighty tempest to come upon him and the ship on which he sailed. Brothers and sisters some of us have developed a Jonah complex today. We hear God speaking to us yet we fail to give Him our undivided attention. Instead we try to run and hide when He speaks to us. Jesus told us in the 28th chapter and 19th verse of Matthew, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations”.
Instead what we do is stay in our own fold and forget about those outside. Our job as Christians is to share our faith with others. We must go out into the highways and byways to tell others of the goodness of God no matter what the consequences.
When God speaks to us we should drop everything and listen. We need to be like those old E.F. Hutton commercials; “when E.F. Hutton speaks….” When we neglect paying attention to God, Satan steps in and begins to sway us in the wrong direction. There are many times when we have troubles and God tells us what to do. But we decide to do it our way. Brothers and sisters, this is a blatant disobedience to God’s word. We see that due to Jonah’s disobedience, he was cast into the sea and swallowed up by a great fish.
Because of Jonah’s disobedience he began a downward spiral. When he fled from the Lord he went down to Joppa; he went down into the ship; he went down into the sides of the ship. Just like Jonah, when we disobey God we too go down. It may be that we go down in health; down in wealth; down in happiness and even down in the joy of the Lord. Brothers and sisters just as Jonah had to face the consequences of his disobedience so must we.
Like a child that must pay a price for rebelling against its parent, so must we pay a price for rebelling against God. Now why is it that God wants our attention? God has something important to tell us. God stated in 2nd Chronicles 7th chapter and the 14th verse, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Brothers and sisters God wants our attention because he wants to correct and heal us. But without our attention and our seeking the kingdom of Heaven, we cannot be corrected because we are not listening. God also wants our attention because He loves us. In fact we see in John 3:16 just how great God’s love is. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This one reason alone should be enough to make us pay attention and be obedient to God. Yet there are still those who are not convinced of their need to give their attention to God. The sad thing about man is that he has selective hearing. We pay attention to what we want to, when we want to. We listen to everyone from Dr. Phil to Oprah. We take their advice as fact and follow what they say. Oprah even tells many what books to read.