As I watched and listened to the flight attendant give us instructions about what to do in case our plane crashes today, it hit me: flight attendants are one of the groups of people who can relate with Christians who are trying to tell a hurting world about their need for Jesus. The realization came with this phrase I heard the flight attendant say over the intercom: "Pretend like you're giving us your attention as we go through the safety features of this Boeing 737 today." One lady next to me looked up for a moment and then went right back into her book. No one else around me seemed to pay attention.
The flight attendants were informing us of what to do should an emergency occur. Christians are called to share the truth about Jesus' cross and the world's need for a Savior. Some may raise their heads to hear what we are saying, but many neglect to listen and go right back to what they were doing.
As I continued thinking about it, it hit me how much the passengers on the plane are like Christians as well. I would imagine that almost everyone on this flight has flown before. If some haven't, they've known people who have which makes them feel like an expert flyer. As the flight attendant gave her safety speech, most people, having already heard that message before, ignore the warning to focus on what they were already doing. Since they had already heard it before, why listen? And that is what many Chrisiand do when they listen to a message. They show up to church, open the bulletin and check out the message for that morning. If they have already heard a message on that passage or topic, attention is withdrawn and he/she slips into cruise control.
To the pastor teaching: keep bringing it. Realize that our primary job as teachers is to remind the people of what God has already said. It does not mean that we get lazy in how we say it, but rather just the opposite. Because people have "heard it" before, we need to get creative so that they will want to hear it again. However, that starts with us being willing hear it again as well.
Christians listening in the pews: we can never be reminded enough of the things of God. Even if you've heard it before, listen and learn. Think about it: how often did Jesus say, "You've heard that it was said..." Jesus repeated things already written in the Old Testament and yet he still taught those things. And the people: they were blown away with what he said. There's just something mezmorizing about what Jesus says.
Don't get discouraged, Christian. Whether people give us their full attention or not, we must still share the truth, first with our actions and then with our words. It's a rescue mission. Gear up and bring it!
And by the way: I did pay attention to the flight attendant. I even looked at her while she shared the safety instructions. I guess I too know what it feels like to have an "audience" who has "been there, done that."