"For they look, but they don't really see. They hear, but they don't really listen or understand." Matthew 13:13 (NLT)
There is a video that has gone around for quite a while now that shows the difference between watching something and really seeing it. There is a group of people passing a basketball in a circle. Half of the people are wearing black and half white. The viewer is asked to count how many times the people in white shirts pass the basketball. After you have watched and counted they ask a simple question, "Did you see the gorilla?" After the first time I watched the video I honestly did not know why they were asking. After watching the video again, without counting, about halfway through the video a person in a gorilla suit walks right through the middle of the circle. The first time I watched the video I never even saw the gorilla. The second time I saw it clearly. The test is called a selective attention test.
The difference in the two viewings of this video is attention and awareness. The first time you are selectively watching the people in the white shirts and really see nothing else—not even a gorilla. The second time you are aware that there is a gorilla in the video and you cannot miss it. When you are aware of the presence of something it is obvious, but when you are unaware you can miss it. It's a little like the phenomenon of buying a new car. Before you buy a certain kind of car you may notice that make or model occasionally. Somehow after purchasing that make and model you suddenly see them everywhere.
Jesus is telling his disciples something a little similar to this. Jesus tells them they can hear and understand the parables because they are really seeing, hearing, and listening. There were plenty of people who saw Jesus, but did not really see him for who he was. There were plenty of people who heard Jesus, but did not really listen to him. In our faith life we are to selectively give our attention to God. We are to really look for where God is at work and really see God's hand moving. We are to really listen for what God is saying to us and truly hear God. It is only when we intentionally put ourselves to being aware of what God is doing that we will see, hear, and understand God's work in our life.
It is like this when we cultivate communication with God and our human relationships, especially marriage. The more aware and present we are the more we cultivate communication. We really hear each other and really understand what is being communicated. This weekend I am so excited to have my wife join me in preaching a message about cultivating communication. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear from my better half. We are very much looking forward to sharing with you.
We all need to make ourselves aware of what God is doing in our midst. We all need to cultivate communication with God, our spouse, our kids/family, and our friends. As Jesus told his disciples later, "Blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear." (Matthew 13:16) May you be blessed this week as you cultivate communication in your marriage. There are a lot of great things happening at St. Andrew’s and the best is yet to come. I can’t wait to see you in church.