Your pastor sees you …
There are many reasons I admire pastors. For starters, they have the monumental task of presenting the Word of God each week. They have to discipline themselves to prepare sermons, Bible studies, and for other various meetings. And when considering their families, deacons, committees, and church members, they’re tasked with taking into account approximately 72,819 opinions and questions from Sunday to Sunday.
There’s a reason it’s not a job, but a calling.
With all of those demands on pastors, there’s one skill I admire. I’m convinced it’s a gift from God that improves over time. That is the skill of focus.
In particular, I’m talking about when pastors are delivering sermons. They have a perspective shared by no one else in the room and see what everyone is doing while staying on their message. It amazes me how they’re able to do it. My public-speaking experience doesn’t amount to much, but when I’m in front of a group I can’t help but notice what everyone is doing.
That guy is checking Twitter. That woman is checking Instagram. That kid is talking. That kid is sleeping. Those two think I can’t see them talking.
I told several pastors about this at the annual meeting, which kicked off their sharing what they’ve seen while, for instance, going over the Sermon on the Mount. All my fellow laypeople, listen up: your pastors sees what you’re doing.
He doesn’t have super-eyesight nor a bevy of security cameras monitoring everything. It’s due to a change in perspective. This has proven to be the case, scientifically, when it comes to time.
We’re about to enter what I thought as a kid was the slowest time of the year – that gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every day dragged until finally Christmas morning came. Now? It feels like as soon as I hit “Publish” on this column, Dec. 24 will have arrived and I’ve yet to buy my last-minute gifts for my family from AutoZone.
Science explains this difference between mind time and clock time. It’s kind of complex, but helps me to think of it like a filing cabinet. When we’re younger, the filing cabinet is being loaded with new sights, sounds, and experiences, so it’s taking longer to fill up. As we get older, the filing cabinet is getting full of those experiences. You go into a sort of autopilot at times. Ever pull into the driveway at your house and have very little recollection of the drive itself and how you got there? That’s an example.
I don’t want to be on autopilot.
Around 20 years ago I began to regularly take notes during sermons. Those notes are in various notebooks in a box in my garage. I began taking those notes to remember what was said, of course, but also as a self-measure to not zone out during a sermon. At times I’m Dug the Dog in “Up!” and can be distracted by the figurative squirrel.
That can lead to me forgetting what is going on at the moment. I miss “making the best use of the time,” as we’re reminded in Eph. 5:15.
I have a senior in high school and am noticing more pictures of her from when she was a baby, a toddler, a little girl with giant bows in her hair, a preteen. Those were precious times, but so are the ones now. She can drive herself so we can meet for lunch. We have conversations about topics we couldn’t when she was six. My perspective has changed to where I see a lot more.
My kids hate it when they catch me doing this, but I don’t care. At times I’ll just watch them, taking in who they are at this moment. I consider the ways God has blessed me for getting to be a part of their life. I consider the responsibility of living out His precepts in front of them.
My family just left a “busy” season of life that included soccer, football, and cheerleading schedules. At times I was guilty of going into autopilot because I’m human, but with that season in the past I know I’m one year closer to no more soccer/football/cheer practice at all. I’ve heard that I’ll miss it. I expect I will.
Yes, time speeds up as we get older. It’s all the more reason to consider our perspective of where God has placed us at the moment with the experience we have to contribute. Let’s make the most of our days, and not drift on autopilot.