Okay, let’s focus
Hey David, are you still there?
When I was growing up, my teachers in elementary school would notice the telltale sign of my eyes glazing over in the middle of a lesson. My focus would be gone, and I would be off in the land my friends like to affectionately call: David’s World. This was not a phenomenon that was limited to my early years, as my friends in high school and college began to notice the signs that I had checked out of a conversation. I’m sure that there are many of my friends and peers that can relate to the problem that has plagued me for much of my life. My attention span is horrific, I can admit that completely. I have never been diagnosed with ADD, but I have had several friends tell me I should get checked out by a doctor or specialist. Thanks guys. My multitasking is also not the greatest. In fact, I’m turning off my music I have playing right now after rewriting this sentence three times.
Speaking of music, there is a new band I have been wanting to check out, let me pull up their website and take a quick listen. Wow, they sound pretty great, I should probably see if I can buy one of their CDs the next time I go to the bookstore. Speaking of the bookstore, I need to finish that series of novels I had started last month, but I promised myself I would finish that other biography by the end of the week so I could let my friend borrow it. The biography is a really great book about a World War Two general. I’m pretty sure that I remember a really cool fact I learned in a lecture at school about that general during the German invasion of France, let me look on Wikipedia and see if I can pull up something that will spark that memory from my sophomore year of college. Also, I’m pretty sure that the guys are playing volleyball tonight, I need to text my friends and see if that is still going on–Wait a minute, what was I doing before?
It is likely that most of us don’t experience this disjointed state of mind to that extreme, but we all experience periods of time when our spiritual focus is shifting and settling on everything else in our lives other than God. The combination of work, our social lives, technology, friends, family and hobbies constantly compete for our attention, and we find it hard to focus on what matters. We live in a culture that has never been more optimized than now at sucking up every bit of focus we have and redirecting it to the most pointless and exhausting of avenues. We could spend hours browsing through the internet and pursuing things that ultimately have no real significance for our lives. This is dangerous to us as Christians. We can fill our minds and our focus with everything that is immediately tangible and directly before our eyes and totally miss out on God’s Kingdom.
Our minds and hearts need to be focused on God and the work that he has for us here on earth. Ultimately, growing in a relationship with Christ and leading others to follow him is the reason for our existence. When we focus on that final and beautiful truth, we begin to see the other aspects in our lives shift to our new priorities. We begin to discard the things that don’t matter for the pursuit of something greater. Matthew 13:45-46 says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” When our focus is on God, we sell everything in our lives, whether it is our idols, jealousy, slander, bitterness, lust or whatever earthly thing that we believe to be enriching our lives.
Begin focusing on God this week by being alone with Him and his Word every day. Ask him to redirect your thoughts to further his kingdom here on this earth. Ask him to remove the residual effects of this culture driven by status and information. Ask God to open our eyes to the beauty of counting everything we have gained as loss compared to the glory of knowing Christ. By shifting our focus from the mortal to the eternal, we gain a glimpse of the life that awaits at the end of this one. The shadows of this world begin to fade and we understand real life and real joy that God designed for us in his perfect plan.