ON FOCUS

Like many people, I need the help of glasses to see anything clearly.  Without them everything is out of focus or is fuzzy.  Just imagine what it would have been like to have lived before there were any aids to help one see better than their natural ability.

But I think that the problem of not being in focus is greater inside than it is outside or greater spiritually and emotionally than it is physically.  In the greatest sermon ever preached, The Sermon on the Mount by Jesus, recorded in Matthew 5-7 he dealt with the subject of having things in focus.  It is in the context of his teaching about not laying up treasures on earth since there are so many things that can destroy them, but to lay up treasures in heaven, where nothing can destroy the investment.  “The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”  (Matthew 6:22-23)  It helps to grasp what this segment is saying to look at the verse immediately following.  “No one can serve two masters.  Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”

Jesus uses a basic illustration about anyone having eye problems.  Nothing can be clear to us if we aren’t seeing clearly.  Think of a young person playing baseball.  What happens when they take their eye off the ball?  I’ve always enjoyed watching young kids learning to play baseball.  During those beginning times it is fun to see that child out in the outfield who forgets about the ballgame and starts noticing things around them.  A ball is hit into their area but they don’t realize it until parents and coaches start yelling for them to get the ball.  In life we tend to do the same thing.  We have important things going on in life, but we lose our focus and ignore the things that are vital to pay attention to things that have no real significance in our lives.

Money makes a great servant, but a lousy Lord and Master.  You can’t have two different rulers in your life.  If God is the Lord of life, then you must see everything as part of life for him.

One of the greatest responsibilities we have is as a parent spending time teaching and loving our children.  They need our attention, our guidance to help them make the right choices for life.  But it is so easy to lose our attention to the most important things in life while getting involved in things that will never matter much for life.  A father usually needs a job to provide for the family.  I’m a huge believer in working and giving whatever I do my very best.  In the words of Paul, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)  But the dad who becomes so carried away with their work that they don’t have time to be with their children and be involved in their lives, has their eyes completely out of focus.

Jesus went ahead in this sermon to make his point even stronger.  He said for one to worry about what they will eat or drink, what they will wear or where they will live is to waste our energy and focus on the wrong things.  He noted that those who don’t know God live that way.  Does this mean we are to give no thought to food, clothes or shelter?  No, but it shouldn’t become something that consumes us.  To worry is to fret, to be choked by those concerns.  A person ought to work and provide for those who depend on them but should always remember that without the blessings of God, it wouldn’t matter how hard we worked or how much we saved.  Jesus reminds us of the birds that don’t plant or harvest but God takes care of them.  He pointed to the flowers that are more beautiful than anything we can make and said they were better clothed than Solomon in all his glory, yet they don’t work frantically at having the flowers.

Jesus challenge to us is “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)

Life is about focus.  It is what consumes us that matters.  Life is full of interest.  But if we don’t keep our eyes on the ball we will miss the things that really matter.  Work on all vital areas of your life.  But don’t become so concentrated on one segment of life that you ignore all the others.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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