The Cost of Paying Attention

Fall yard raking brought on a much-needed life lesson for me.

My family’s huge oak tree sheds practically every leaf each fall and winter. At the base of this tall oak tree is a small dogwood tree. As long as I can remember, both the oak and dogwood have been there, coexisting sweetly in the front yard. I appreciate the oak’s shade and its majesty. I appreciate the dogwood’s beautiful white and bloodstain-tipped blossoms in the spring, right around Easter, reminding me of the blood sacrifice Jesus made for all of us.

Back to my story. So I was raking, just as I have raked much of my adult life. Soaking up the beautiful autumn blue sky, gentle breeze, crisp air, I looked down and noticed a bright red berry in the grass. Where could a berry have come from in my front yard? I looked up and saw the dogwood. Squinting, I noticed something different. Clusters of deep, red berries amidst the changing leaves of the dogwood!  Beautiful. The sight was beautiful!  Blood red berries, as deep as the red on the bloodstain-tipped blossoms in the spring. I was awestruck.

All these years, all these autumns. I missed it…until now. I paid attention.  Grabbing my phone, I captured this photo.

How have I never noticed the autumn berries on my dogwoods before now?

Why have I never noticed?  Why have I not paid more attention?

“Pay” attention. The verb we use before the word “attention” causes me to ponder. Pay. Like paying for an item in a store. There is a cost. There is value. There is sacrifice. Yes, I desire to pay more attention.

The Bible is full of passages about “paying” attention.

Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.” –Proverbs 22:17 NIV

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive the blinders of my eyes and heart. Forgive my hurried pace. Please help me pay more attention.  Help me notice You, Lord. Help me pay attention to Your majesty, from the gorgeous full moon last week to the fresh morning dew in my front lawn to the bright red berries on my autumn dogwood leaves and branches. Beauty surrounds us if we look.  Paying attention is worth the cost, Lord. I pray to experience life through Your lens and Your timing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


–How would you rank your life’s pace? Please comment.

–What intentional act will you do to unrush yourself? How?  Please comment.


–“The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your GOD that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” –Deuteronomy 28:13 NIV

–“My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight.” –Proverbs 5:1 NIV

–“You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.” –Isaiah 42:20 NIV

–“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. –Hebrews 2:1 NIV

–“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” –2 Peter 1:19 NIV


–Please enjoy at least one unrushed moment with your spouse, child, loved one today.

–Savoring a few minutes of prayer and quiet devotional time in the Bible sets a more unrushed pace and peace for the day.



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