Jesus had a different way of saying that sometimes we make mountains out of mole hills.  He said that people strain out a gnat and swallow a camel but the point is the same.  I suspect it is a universal problem.  It is so easy to get all excited about something that doesn’t make any real difference while overlooking things that are of extreme importance. But when we do so, whoever we are or whatever the topic we take away both from the matters that are really important and we waste worlds of time and energy on the insignificant often keeping us from what is important.  I believe it is a tactic of Satan.  Imagine the magician or even the pick pocket who gets you to look in one direction while all the time he is doing something outside the focus zone that you aren’t seeing.

Perhaps the very best illustration of this today is all the attention that has been placed on whether or not NFL players kneel or stand during the National Anthem.  I think I am a pretty patriotic person.  But I have to say that whether a ball player stands or kneels at such times is not of great concern.  It would certainly be worth the time and energy to stop and ask the ones who refuse to stand and either salute the flag or put their hands over their hearts, why they aren’t doing so.  There have been a world of things in life that I watched another person do that I thought was wrong or sent the wrong message until I asked them why they did what they did and listened to their reasons.  Many times after hearing the reasons I completely understood and at times even agreed with them.  Other times I have tried to convince them that there were better ways to express their feelings on such matters than the way they had chosen.

Think about so many of the mountains that we face all around us today.  We have nations like North Korea that seem to live and breath the thoughts of how they can destroy us as a people.  We live in a time where division is so bad that the people on the other side of the isle from us of a different political party couldn’t say the sky was blue and us agree with them.  Violent crime is horrible in cities like Little Rock where people too often kill others for the smallest of matters.  People are judged as good or bad based on the color of their skin or where they may be from.  Children are abused and thousands of them are abandoned or ignored by the very people that should be looking out for their interest.  Pornography is warping the minds of young and old alike.  The filth on TV has become so rampant that it is difficult to find anything to watch that actually promotes anything close to morality, much less spirituality.

The point is there are tons of things going on that need our attention, our work and our prayers constantly.  But when Satan can get us focusing instead on things that aren’t of any real significance he must send shout of glee all through the halls of hell.  If you want to make a difference for good look for some real area of need and hurt in the world around you and get involved in trying to do something to help.  Wherever you live there are hundreds of children who have been taken from their homes because of some form of abuse who need foster parents.  Instead of worrying about what a football player does or some actor says, become someone who really does something to make a difference for good.  Think of all the elderly people in the world that feel abandoned because family is so busy with their lives they don’t have the time to spend time with them.  Why not adopt an older person and be their friend, their advocate?  In a day when more young people leave church than remain faithful after they graduate from high school, why not become the person who keeps up with, shows love and appreciation for and is involved in one young person’s life?  In a recent study done on young people that had left the church after they grew up and the ones who stayed, the number one reason given by those who stayed was that there was an adult in the church who wasn’t part of their family that took a real interest in them and kept it up even after they grew up.

Now, if molehills are your thing, there are plenty of them to focus on.  You can fuss about things that you don’t like at church to the degree that your kids grow up thinking it is an awful place they will get away from as soon as they can.  You can put down people who disagree with you to the degree that those around you know never to disagree with you about anything or they will be labeled for life.  You can look so closely at what is wrong in the world that you never see what is right.  You can judge others in such a way that it doesn’t matter what they say or do you will think it is wrong.

But Jesus was always interested in mountains instead of molehills.  Pharisees, Sadducees and the High Priest of his day loved molehills.  Instead of caring about all the people he healed they were just mad because it did so on the Sabbath Day.  Instead of hearing the amazing sermons they were angry that he didn’t wash his hands correctly before eating.  Instead of being overwhelmed that he would feed 5,000 people with a boys sack lunch they were upset that he wouldn’t do it again every day.  Jesus saw hurting, lonely, forgotten people and loved them, accepted them and led them to a better life.  The religious leaders spent their time thanking God they weren’t like those folks.

So, which are you focused on?  Is it mountains or molehills?  Is it camels or gnats?  Thank God we can change our focus whenever we want to.


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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