Monday afternoon I was exiting the Student Center at the University of Akron when all of a sudden I found myself crumpled on the concrete steps. My head, left knee, and left wrist helped break my fall. Unfortunately, I was left with a scraped up forehead and knee, as well as, a bruised ego. How exactly did this happen? I can sum it up in one word- multitasking. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. My pesky cell phone held my complete attention, leaving none to spare for the walking I was supposed to be doing. Yes, I was on my smart phone, but I certainly wasn’t acting smart. Hopefully no one captured my fall from grace on their camera phone. Although if someone posted it, I’m sure I’d have heard about it by now, as that would definitely be shareable material on social media.
With a little research I discovered that many people are killed or suffer serious injury while distracted by their phones. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving. Yet, despite these startling statistics, people still continue to text and drive. Probably for the same reason I can still hear my parents’ voice in my ear saying, “Mark watch where you are going,” and yet I’m still falling. We are easily distracted and get caught up in life instead of paying attention to what’s in front of us.
I also hear my Heavenly Father saying something similar to me regarding my spiritual walk. I need to do a better job of paying attention lest I stumble and fall into sin. In Mark 14:38, Jesus told His disciples on the night of His betrayal to stay awake and remain alert, “…lest they fall into temptation.” The Bible speaks to us about the importance of staying focused. Paul said, “This one thing I do.” He also writes the following sobering words of warning which call for our full attention from 1 Corinthians 10.
I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us…If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
What was I doing at the University of Akron anyways on that Monday morning? Ironically I was attending a seminar on safety and security for houses of worship in our community. One of the central messages was, “Pay attention to your surrounding so you are aware of potential hazards or threats to your security.” There I sat for over three hours listening to how to keep our environment secure, yet I walked out and became a statistic. I should have listened better and obeyed the wise counsel. By the way, they stated their research shows that only a small percentage of the people they instruct actually put into action what they learn in the seminar. Well, I just increased their percentage. The two words “take heed” are used 49 times in Scripture. One of these times is in Hebrews 2:1 which says, “So we must listen very carefully to the truths we have heard, or we may drift away from them.” The King James Version says it this way. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”
So what’s the bottom line to this Parable of the Fall? My challenge to you, dear reader and friend, is to be alert to the trip wires, booby traps, and land mines the enemy has set to cause you to stumble and fall in your spiritual walk with Christ. Take a close inventory of your world. Are there people, places, and things that are potential snares you are ignoring because your eyes are roving in other directions? Consider this as a warning from your loving Heavenly Father reminding you to take heed and pay attention to where you are walking.
Also, we must never forget that our walk has impact on others’ walk with Christ as well. The Bible speaks to that relationship with others and uses the term “stumbling block” to describe what we don’t want to become. The Apostle Paul says it this way in 1 Corinthians 8:9 “…but take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” It’s important that I not allow myself to stumble and fall into sin, but also just as important not to lead others into the same trap. Jesus had strong words against this. “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Now is not the time to become distracted like I was on Monday. Let’s make a commitment to stay alert, minimize the distractions, and pay attention to our walk. Don’t let the attention you pay to your smart phone (or anything else for that matter) dumb you down. Listen to the advice of Your Heavenly Father and nimbly walk with confidence in His ways.