This blog post is not about the time of a successful bull-ride or the movie 8 Seconds, it is about the current attention span of society as a whole. In a very disturbing KIA car commercial recently, they show a young woman who sings along with her radio and then goes off into a dream world, she comes back to reality while almost rear-ending the car in front of her. KIA then notes “current research shows the average attention span of an adult is 8 seconds”, so they equipped this particular car with a braking system to prevent an accident.
Sad? I’d say so! Think about how dangerous it is living in today’s society when car manufacturers have to be pro-active based on such a minuscule attention span. 8 seconds sounds extreme, but it is actually the truth. How many encounters in today’s technological world have you noticed this? If you haven’t, your attention span is most likely the average as well or less than that average. Which by the way when it is just the “average” it means more people have less than an 8 second attention span than more than 8 seconds.
False teachers out there have grasped onto this fact. This is done by the cherry picking verses and various tag-lines which feeds a sinful heart. “You can get rich quick” for example or “send me money, and you illness will be cured” can be said in less than 8 seconds which will garner the attention of the lost.
Exposition good teachers such as John MacArthur are slowly going to the wayside because of short attention spans where a listener cannot sit through one of his 50-60 minute sermons. I can’t say how many sermons of which I have shared with others, but discernment says about 90 percent of the time they are ignored because of the length. As being a former Catholic, I can also attest to the sermons of a Catholic priest, the shorter the better I always thought as did most of the congregation.
So is there a solution? Should we use the Twitter concept of a 140 characters for witnessing the Good News based on attention spans? Is it possible to cram in the whole council of God into 8 seconds? Maybe for God Himself, but impossible for a mere human being. So there really isn’t a good solution to this problem.
However there is something we can ABSOLUTELY draw from it. Those being drawn by God will not show the short attention span! Those not, well they will fall by wayside after 8 seconds or so. So the tares can be exposed from the wheat so to speak, discernment says those who stay with us are of us. You will know them by their fruit, Jesus says. A Christian desires the word of God, they desire to commune with Him and fellowship with other Christians, the very citizens of Heaven above. A sermon could last 2 hours and if biblical sound, the Christian listener is still desiring more.
Satan might be catering to the 8 second span, but we can discern from it just the same. Discern the individual who stays with you, who is interested, who might be wrong in their thinking but is still with you, who hasn’t passed you off because you have become too boring, who is STILL listening after 8 seconds. God is drawing His children, our job is to discern and to encourage them through His word alone. Use this gift! And use your time accordingly. Don’t get frustrated because the attention span is so very quick, rather stay the course with the word of God, those who have ears to hear it will continue on with you!