I am embarrassed to admit this. Over the last three weeks I have been paying more attention to my neighbor.
He and his wife are over 70, and she, in particular, has as all the health risks that make her especially vulnerable to Covid-19. I have made a point to ask how they are doing. When I see him outside I am quick to walk over and visit (maintaining proper social distance, of course). They have children who stop by from time to time, but they can’t there all the time. I can. So I am working to be more diligent to look out for them.
Here is the embarrassing part. Ever since we moved in I have known them to be of poor spiritual health. I know he is skeptical about matters of faith and that he wasn’t all that excited when he heard a pastor was moving in next door. I have known this. But, to be honest, I haven’t been that invested. It’s not as if we never talked, we have. And it’s not as if I have never tried to start a spiritual conversation, I have. But the truth is, they have never received the kind of attention from me as they have the last three weeks. I guess it took crisis.
In our Scripture reading today, Peter writes about the immanency of the “last days” (Verse 3) and the promise of Christ’s return (verse 4). Now that might not sound like a crisis to us, but he does describe some of the dreadful events that will accompany that time (7-10). And Peter’s hope was that being aware of this would result in a heightened awareness of their responsibility, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.” And, “…since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” (3:11, 14).
Times of crisis and uncertainty have a way of heightening our senses. We notice things we didn’t before. We are concerned about things we weren’t before. We tend to see better and listen better. When your son or daughter comes home from school in tears, you notice. Every other time they walk through the door it’s, “Welcome home!” But when they are visibly upset it’s, “Let’s talk!” You may flip through the channels on your TV, but when you see a red banner scroll across the screen that reads, “Breaking News,” you stop and watch.
As we are seemingly bombarded with crisis news every day, what do you find yourself paying attention to in a way you didn’t before? Maybe it’s your spouse. Your children. A co-worker. Maybe it’s a neighbor. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s your time spent in prayer and Bible reading.
It may very well be something or someone you should have given more attention to a long time ago. Nevertheless, if you feel the fire of urgency now, don’t miss the moment. Make the most of it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, awaken me from my slumber. Shake me to sobriety. And light a fire of urgency for what matters most.