Sunday we wrapped up our series “Sticking it to the Man.” This journey through the Old Testament book of Nehemiah has been a powerful reminder of what it looks like to choose to live a God focused life, not only in our work, but in all we do.

Sunday’s final message dealt with the power of distraction in our lives. Though we understand how powerful distraction can be, we are all guilty to some extent of assuming this is a problem other people deal with, while remaining blind to the distraction in our own lives.

Scripture often refers to this idea of a conversational relationship with God. Apparently, God is always speaking to us, or at least He is trying to. Do you know how to hear His voice? I think far too often, people miss God’s clear call on their lives, not because they don’t want to hear it, but because they are far too distracted.

I ran across a story that illustrates this well. It’s about a man who left his home in the country to move to the city to live with his cousin. One day as they were walking down a crowded street, the man said “I hear a cricket.” His cousin was amazed, because all he heard was the traffic. He almost didn’t believe it, until the man bent down and picked up the cricket.

“How did you do that?” the man’s cousin asked. “Easy,” replied the man. “I was listening.” His city dwelling cousin still looked dumbfounded, so the man decided to illustrate. He reached into his pocket, pulled out some change, and dropped it on the sidewalk. The noise was no louder than the cricket, but immediately several people stopped and turned toward the sound. The man turned to his cousin and made a profound observation:

“People hear what’s important to them.”

What do you hear? God is speaking to you, but there are thousands of other voices constantly screaming for your attention. The average American spends three hours and 46 minutes watching TV every day. That equals 52 days of nonstop TV watching per year. By the age of 65, the average American will have spent nearly nine years just watching television.

Maybe TV isn’t your thing, but something is. Something is distracting you. Is it a friend? An activity? Your money? Your possessions? Your thought life? Your career? What are you hearing today? Far too many fail to say “yes” to God and “no” to distractions. I heard a statement once:

If Satan can’t make us bad, he’ll make us busy.

I think it could also be said, if Satan can’t get us to deny God, He’ll keep us too distracted to hear God at all. Distractions will come. And when they do, I pray we will have the courage to answer like Nehemiah:

“I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”

(Nehemiah 6:3b NLT)

God has a great work for you. Don’t forsake that work for the sake of a distraction.

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