Faith Reflections

Paying Attention

There is a fascinating video online designed to test your awareness. (You may view it at shorturl.at/dBJS4) In the video, there are eight basketball players, four dressed in white, four dressed in black. You are challenged to count how many times the white team passes the basketball.

The first time I watched it, I felt proud. I had counted correctly.

What I missed completely was the guy in a bear costume moonwalking through the center of the group. I couldn’t believe it. I had been so focused on watching the white team that I missed the bear.

On the walk to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-27, Cleopa and another follower of Jesus encounter the Risen Christ yet they do not recognize him. Not at first. They were distracted by the past three days – the torture and death of Jesus Christ, the death of their hopes and dreams for what they thought the kingdom would look like.

How often, like Cleopas and the other disciple, have I missed Christ because I was focused on something else? These two were immersed in their grief, in the disappointment and disillusionment of the past days. How often have I been unable to see Christ because of my focus on disappointments and disillusionments? How many times do I trust what I think God is doing and miss the thing God is doing in a new way?

Cleopas and the other did not recognize Jesus through sight, but their hearts were drawn to him, so they remained open, inviting this stranger to reside with them, to eat with them, to continue the conversation. Their openness was the invitation Jesus used to nourish them in every way and to reveal Himself.

May we remain open and create space for Jesus to reveal Himself as we walk the journey together.

*This devotion first appeared on April 26, 2020, as part of the daily devotion ministry of First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, Mo.

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