Today’s Reading: Acts 13:45 NIV
45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.
Ticks are annoying little creatures, wouldn’t you agree? They are tiny, blood sucking parasites, commonly found in wooded areas and tall grass. Whenever our family went camping, Mom and Dad would make me and my sister line up for a “tick” check before bed. If a tick buries itself in human flesh and goes undetected, one can become seriously ill with Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It can kill you if left untreated. Whenever Daddy found a tick hanging out on one of our extremities, he would take his cigarette lighter and hold it near our skin. The warmth of the flame would most often force the tick to let go of us and run! Sometimes we had to dig them out with a needle. To be brutally honest, I really don’t care for ticks at all.
There are other types of ticks that seem to distract and annoy. The constant ticking of a clock can be a deterrent when we’re trying to maintain focus in an otherwise quiet room. Our dishwasher cycle has a rhythmic ticking sound when running which often causes me leave the room during its cycle. The sound is short lived; yet that particular noise can really distract me, especially if I’m fighting a headache or trying to read or write.
I was listening to one of my favorite worship services broadcast over the radio, while driving in my car. The Pastor had what I would classify as a spiritual tick running throughout his sermon. If my own pastor, during the course of preaching a sermon says, “Now listen,” my mind immediately focuses and my ears listen carefully to the next word he speaks. I do not want to miss the main point of his message. This is an effective way to instantly attract the attention of your listener. However, when the pastor says, “Now listen” twenty-eight times during the course of a sermon, it becomes a mere distraction. I found myself counting the number of times the radio preacher said, “Now listen” than really paying attention to what he was actually trying to convey. It was truly unfortunate, because God’s Word of grace was somehow getting lost in the spiritual tick of a passionate preacher’s heart.
Many people who heard Paul speak, could not get past their own spiritual tick to hear the message. They were much more concerned about refuting Paul's personal testimony than listening and receiving Christ’s message of salvation. I wish we could say that we have learned to let go of spiritual ticks as we’ve gained knowledge throughout the generations but I would be lying through my teeth if I told you so. The danger of leaving a spiritual tick unchecked is that it can cost you eternal life. What seems to be a simple difference of opinion can fester into an eternal life choice. How often do we get so wrapped up in our own pat theological rhetoric and philosophies that we cannot see the Savior standing right in front of us? He trips us up like tiny wrinkles buckling over the carpet of lives. We over analyze faith, becoming way too entrenched in the way things were, to open our hearts to the reality that Messiah has truly come. Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection is a clear and convincing revelation of the fulfillment of the Father’s everlasting promise; yet, many miss this message because they cannot get past the distractions of their own spiritual ticks.
Father, we need your help to lay down our spiritual ticks at the foot of the cross. We really want to hear, understand, and obey Your Word. Help us not be so distracted by the incessant noise of this world that we miss the glorious Good News of Your Son and Our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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