The past few weeks have been unusually busy at the church, and the result is that my “To Do” list of administrative tasks has continued to grow. So this morning I left my house firmly committed to getting through at least of half of the items on the list. However, my plans were almost immediately interrupted, as I got a series of phone calls from different folks with urgent problems that needed a pastor's input. As the morning progressed, so did the interruptions, and by the time lunch rolled around, I had accomplished only two things on my list, but had handled at least half a dozen problems from other folks.
So I sat down to re-evaluate my list, knowing I was going to have to bump several items to tomorrow's list. I’ll be honest and say that I was feeling frustrated - and so, as I worked through my list, I found myself thinking, "If it wasn't for all these folks interrupting me, I could get so much more done!" Almost as soon as the thought crossed my mind, I realized the irony of what I was thinking. Here's what I mean: God has called me to pastor folks, and if I'm getting so busy with administrative tasks that my pastoring work gets in the way, then there's a problem. It was a good reminder, and I took a minute to surrender my frustrations to God, and ask for His help in refocusing.
He was faithful to do that by reminding me of Philippians 3:14 which says, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” In this passage, the Apostle Paul addresses the very struggle I was having, which is, keeping focused on the purpose behind all that I do. I’ve found that it’s all-to-easy to get side-tracked and caught up in all the activity going on around me, while forgetting what it was that got me busy to begin with. And it's not just pastors and ministry folks who make this sort of mistake - we can all get sidetracked from the simple plan that God has for our lives.
But in this passage, Paul reminds us of the need to stay focused - to not let ourselves get sidetracked by life - but to instead, press on towards that singular goal of serving God well. I wonder if Paul addressed this idea because he knew from his own life that one of Satan's biggest weapons against us to tempt us to forget. It's not that we forget God completely, it's just that we get so caught up in all the activity going on around us that we forget to focus on what's important. And we shouldn't do that. Instead, we need to maintain our focus on God and press on.
So today, let's ask God to help us focus on what He wants us to focus on. Let's ask Him to strip away all the distractions we're caught up in, and to help us simplify our lives by simply focusing on Him.