Mark 8:18 “Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?”
The Saviour must have become frustrated with the disciples because of their lack of attention to what He had said and done. Jesus was trying to teach the disciples a truth about the influence of the Pharisees’ doctrine. He used the analogy that the disciples must beware of the “leaven of the Pharisees.” For whatever reason, the disciples thought within themselves that He was trying to hint at them that he was hungry and that they didn't have bread. This frustrated Jesus because He had already fed thousands of people in two different instances with just a little bit of bread and meat. When Jesus asked, “Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?”, He was saying to them, “Please, pay attention to what I am saying.”
We live in a world that is so preoccupied with other things that we miss what God is doing in our presence and what He is teaching us from the preaching of the Word of God. Many of our problems in life could be resolved if we paid attention to the preaching of God’s man in church. However, we often miss what is being said because our minds are wandering about what is going to happen later. I could repeat to many people asking my advice the very words that our Saviour said to His disciples. If these people had listened in my personal conversations with them, listened to my preaching, or observed what I do, they would likely have their answers to their situation. Let me share a few critical thoughts about the importance of paying attention to everything going on in church and around your preacher.
First, you must pay attention on purpose. It is easy to let your mind wander in times when it is the most important time to listen and learn. You likely already have heard how to handle most of what you face in life, but because you didn't pay attention when the answer to your situation was being taught, you missed the lesson. Most of the critical truths that will help you in life can be learned in those “boring” sermons and “unexciting” Sunday school classes. My friend, everything will not be fun and exciting; you must learn to pay attention by character.
Second, don’t miss what you need in the future by being preoccupied with what is going on in the present. You will have to fight from letting your mind wander, especially in those times when you are tired. Always understand that what you are seeing and hearing in the present is likely a help that you will use in the future. Just because you don't need it now doesn't mean that you won't need it tomorrow. Therefore, if you pay attention all the time, you will never miss the truths that will be the tools to help you in the problems and situations that you will face tomorrow.
Third, be aware of what is going on. Don't just be physically present when you are around your pastor or spiritual leaders, but be mentally present as well. It is not just what they say that is critical to your life, but it is also how they conduct themselves that is critical to your life. The little things they do are as critical to what God is doing through them as what you consider the big things. If you study your pastor and spiritual leaders and everything that they do, you will never have a regret that you didn't pay better attention when you were around them. Let the admonition of our Saviour to pay attention be your mandate to be aware on purpose of everything going on around you.