Paying Attention

After having yet another encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus warned the disciples that they should beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, but because they had forgotten bread they thought Jesus was referring to that error. In response, Jesus again brought up their little faith and reminded them of how much they gathered after the feeding of the five thousand and again how much they gathered after the feeding of the four thousand. Jesus asked them how they could not perceive that he was not speaking regarding yeast from bread. Then they understood that he spoke of the Pharisees’ teaching and not about bread yeast.

How often do we misunderstand what the Holy Spirit is teaching us, because we interpret in the context of a perceived lack that we have in our life? Our little faith leads us to focus on the perceived lacks and needs we have in our life, which Jesus indicates are really non-existent. Twice the disciples had experienced multiplied provision from what they already had; then almost immediately afterwards they were anxious about having forgotten to bring bread with them. They were so concerned that they completely misunderstood what Jesus said to them. How much time and energy do we expend due to what we think we need in our lives, when over and over we have experienced Jesus’ continual care for us? As with the disciples our distraction over the material aspects of our lives, could cause us to completely miss what Jesus’ Spirit is teaching us about even more important areas for our attention. When Satan challenged Jesus to turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger, Jesus responded that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. In his parable, Jesus declared the Rich Man with an abundant harvest requiring bigger and better barns, a fool, because he had focused on material things rather than on kingdom gold. That wealthy man illustrated Jesus’ question, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet to forfeit his soul? Oh, that we would pursue those words that proceed from our Father’s mouth with even more tenacity than we pursue our daily bread.

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