It is not uncommon for church services in Haiti to last 4-6 hours. Contrast this with the typical Western church service which is typically tightly scripted to last for an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. Anything beyond this time and people begin to bristle. We have other things to do after all. When Pastor Kyle Idleman visited Haiti, he inquired of a local pastor as to how he was able to keep the attention of his congregation for so long.
The pastor replied simply the people in Haiti had nothing else to do. While he said this with laughter, I believe he hit on an incredibly simple, but important, truth. Believers in Haiti spend extended time worshipping God because they have nothing else in their lives competing for the attention they give to God.
In my country, as with much of the Western world, we’ve allowed many things to compete with the attention due our King. Our jobs, television, smartphones and tablets, video games, web surfing, shopping, kid’s sporting leagues, professional sports, and numerous other entertainment options all clamor for our attention. It’s a wonder we even give God a single hour on Sunday mornings. We have so many distractions, so many things we’ve allowed into our lives, our attention span has dwindled to the lowest it has ever been. I’m reminded of the adage: “What has your attention, has you.” So, I would ask, “What has you?”
All the busyness in our lives, every distraction, exists because we have allowed them into our lives. We have chosen to add these things to the simple truth of Jesus. I’m not anti-technology or anti-progress, but I have to question what it is we call progress when it pushes us further and further away from our Creator and the purpose for which He created us. True progress in life is found in drawing ever closer to Jesus and patterning our lives after His. None of this other stuff matters. It is here for only a moment and then it is gone. It never satisfies. It doesn’t bring any significance.
Sadder still, what has your attention will determine your eternal destiny. If what has your attention is anything other than Jesus, you will discover only when it’s too late your attention has been misplaced. Jesus has provided a way for your salvation, for your life. But there is a cost, and it requires our total focus and devotion.
What has your attention? With what are you spending your limited time? Is it glorifying to God? Is what you are doing being done for the sake of God’s Kingdom or your own? Are the people you spend the most time with leading you closer or away from Jesus? Our activity matters. Our attention matters. Jesus demands our unqualified devotion. He will not be pushed aside in favor of something created by man and elevated in importance by our minds. He is either everything to us or He is nothing. What has your attention today? Be careful, because what has your attention, has you.