Coach was the consummate story-teller. In fact, his locker room chats are legendary. He was able to motivate and incite focus unlike most. I asked him about his strategy of the locker room chats and he stated that all stories must be compelling and personal. He spent years working on his delivery and timing to ensure maximum impact.
But he always started with the words, loudly stated, of “Listen!” He wanted undivided attention. The work they were about to do would be seen by tens of thousands and, in their view, these were the most important moments of their lives.
That word, listen, is one of the keys to the spiritual life. To listen is to give attention to. In the New Testament, the word attention means literally, “to hold to, turn to, attend to, to turn the mind to.” In the moments in the Book of Acts, as the Apostles begin to preach the way of Christ, it is said that the crowds pay attention to these words…literally, turn their minds to the words. They are hearing and then after the hearing, there is a response—what we might call conversion—but more concretely is to engage with the story as their story. These preachers were giving the greatest locker room speeches and the people were attentive to the message.
Diving into the scriptures is an invitation to attentiveness. These are stories of people’s interpretation of their encounter with God and we are invited to hear our story within it. Read Acts 2:14-41 to see this in action!