God created us, called us, and gifted us for specific service. Serving the Lord with all our hearts is how we become ourselves, the people God designed us to be. Our days are numbered, and our time on earth is brief. To take on projects that prevent us from fulfilling our calling and gifting—to pick up tasks God designed for others—is to waste our created uniqueness and the fleeting hours we are granted. This is time stolen from the exemplary.
The Lord always gives enough time for what he himself has called us to do. In taking on others’ unclaimed work, we shrink the time needed to fulfill our own calling and rob others of the pleasure of investing their time in serving the Savior.
Recently, I took on too many tasks and hit the wall. To hear the Lord clearly, I walked away from my usual routine. I invited God to stir up the schedule. I attuned my heart to his leading. I lay in a hammock. I watched floating clouds. I read fiction and inspirational words. I walked. I pondered.
Like a stab to the heart a snatch of dialogue from one fictional character to another were God’s words to me. Like a probing sword were biblical words penned by wise writers. Like a renewal of vows were songs of surrender sung to Jesus while gazing up at his sky.
Jesus reminded me of his character and of my particular part in his kingdom. I realized I had taken my eyes off him. I had become task-oriented. I had neglected my soul. In that parched condition, I had taken on too much and the time had shrunk. When I crashed, I looked like this.
As I rested, my workaholic nature and the insidious forces that want us to forget the benevolent gentleness of the Master kept urging me to get my nose back on the grindstone. If I had heeded the nagging voices, I would have missed the remedy.
The spiritual battle to maintain our focus is fought in surprising ways:
- My primary focus must be the Lord or all else skews. All is dependent upon this. Loving my Savior with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength is what motivates and compels me.
- I must rely on him for guidance about what to do and for the strength to do it.
- I must trust him to produce the outcome he desires. I am only responsible for obedience to his call.
We are transformed when we focus our minds upon Jesus, contemplating him, his words, his actions, and his motives. For Jesus, God’s will and God’s leading are always first. When Jesus is our passion, we are conformed to his image and the Holy Spirit’s power produces spiritual effectiveness. The constant practice of listening to Jesus and concentrating on him allows us to distinguish a balanced and holy calling from the mediocre, the task that is not ours, and the evil.
We must pray for more workers to step up, and we must be alert. As Peter warned, our adversary the devil prowls around seeking to devour us. We must resist his tactics. We must carefully evaluate every opportunity placed before us and learn to say “no” to distractions and “yes” to Jesus and his call on our lives. The joy of serving him with untarnished focus is worth it.
Are you keeping your focus on him? Or are the distractions mounting and the time shrinking?
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