The Gift of Undivided Attention

Reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional. 

Giving someone or something our undivided attention is something that has become increasingly difficult in today’s cultural context where technology and social norms enable and allow us to do so many things at once. It almost feels inefficient to not be in a meeting, while replying to a work messaging notification and keeping abreast of any breaking news all at the same time. 

With the rise of so many platforms designed to make it easier to stay informed, we believe we can multi-task better than ever, and are even rewarded for doing so when we’re able to ‘Google’ an answer to something that everyone was debating about and settle the argument there and then. 

Sometimes, however, paying close attention to what a friend or colleague is saying to us can reveal things that we didn’t expect or notice. As we interact each day with people around us, there will always be those who are going through all sorts of personal struggles, many of which they will never share directly.

As believers in the workplace we can do more than just listen to a person’s words or body language. We have the Holy Spirit who helps us to pay attention to heart of God for every person (Jer 17:9-10). We can listen to a person’s heart through the lens of their Father in heaven who cares for them dearly.

It’s also hard to give God our undivided attention. I often find myself reading and digesting scripture or a commentary while at the same time ticking off things on my mental to-do list. As an interesting thought – if we gave God our absolute attention I wonder if that habit would transfer over into our interactions with others? As a devotion I read by Henry Blackaby put it: 

What would our world be like if we would put aside our technology and agenda for a few minutes (or hours) and truly listen to one another? How many misunderstandings could be avoided? How many burdens could be shared? How much love and kindness could be related through the simple gift of attention?

Today I am challenged to be more aware of how much attention I genuinely give towards people and things that I do, and that the habit of being more attentive is perhaps something that God desires so that he can speak more clearly into my life.

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