A couple of red necks are out in the Tennessee woods hunting when Bubba suddenly grabs his chest and falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing; his eyes are rolled back in his head. Billy Bob whips out his cell phone and calls 911. He gasps to the operator, “I think Bubba is dead! What should I do?”
The operator, in a calm soothing voice says, “Just take it easy and follow my instructions. First we need to make sure he’s dead.”
There is a silence … then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line, “Okay, now what?”
All people filter information through their own set of sieves such as past experiences, definition of words, and inferred interpretation of body language. Frame of mind is one of the most important concerns when attempting to communicate with people.
The best time to give someone additional information is not when their mind is engrossed in another subject. For example, approaching the pastor with some item of church business right before worship is a sure guarantee that the information will not be remembered on Monday morning. Each of us should have our mind centered on worship when we come together for that purpose.
In the joke above, Bubba’s friend set out to get him help. However, Billy Bob’s mind was still centered on hunting, and he ended up doing the opposite of what his 911 call set out to accomplish.
People often arrive at church with things other than worship on their mind. If our natural tendency for distractions is not enough, cell phone and text messages add to the challenge. We all know we need to turn our gadgets off when entering the sanctuary. We may need to turn off thoughts floating around in our head as well. Nothing can be a higher priority than our appointment with the Lord Jesus.
If we allow our minds to be centered on other things when we come into God’s house, we will not hear what He says to us. Worse than not hearing at all, we may even pervert what He says, filter it through our own values, and use God’s Word to justify our own sinfulness.
We can worship only when our mind is focused on God. We cannot leave a place of worship the same way we were if we come with our mind on Him, keep it on Him, and leave with it on Him. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)