Saturday, October 9, 2010


Jesus was documented in the book of Luke as learning religious ways at the Feast of the Passover when he was twelve-years-old. Boys would be inducted into their religious community and manhood at the turn of their 13th year, so this was a normal custom for the preparation for their induction, but wasn't normal was the amazed response the religious leaders had in regards to this young boy. To me this is behavior indicative of someone with the utmost focus on their calling to minister.

It is remarkable how far society has come and how much deviation has transpired in the way of what we spend our time thinking about, looking about, listening to. In our junior high services it can sometimes be a large feat to get some of our teenagers to focus on a 15 - 20 minute message. But, here was Jesus spending at least 3 days in the temple absorbing what he was learning, rifling through it with mind and heart, then offering up questions for discussion or further understanding. Without the assistance of social media (Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Stickcam, etc.) or technology (computers, telephones, TV, etc.) this boy grew to be a man whose influence spread worldwide. 

That kind of influence doesn't come without a high degree of focus that culminates a dedication, tenacity, and genuine love others are willing to follow. I myself am no master of focus. Even these days I catch myself wasting an hour here or there listening to a new song that has my attention on repeat and aimlessly surfing the web without any clear intent in mind. 

For some of us, our focus can be controlled by areas where we are lacking, constantly searching for answers to the deepest yearnings of our hearts. I really believe that God's desire for wholeness and dependency on only His love in each one of us is meant to make us people who can then take the focus off of ourselves and start being others-minded. Jesus didn't use His kingship to promote Himself or obtain glory in men, when asked directly who He was He told the truth, but he didn't show up places and announce "Hey everyone, listen up: I'm Jesus." He needed nothing more than His Father's love and to find needs where they existed and offer truth (usually in the way of relatable parables) to bring about healing and the remission of guilt. The groundwork was laid out so he could then die as a propitiation and ensure that very same healing and freedom for an eternity.

I don't live with regrets, but I oftentimes wonder where I would be and what I would be doing if I had gotten my focus in order much earlier in life. I know there were a handful of years where I couldn't look at anything outside of my self, my pleasures, my needs, my selfish desires. And while I made some unique and interesting memories along the way, I sometimes wonder how much time could have been spent being a person of love. 

Nowadays my focus isn't on telling teenagers what they are doing wrong or need to do better, I'm just trying to get them to be cognizant of their focus. And that is done with ministry: finding the places that need healing, delivering Truth and love to bring about that healing, and then watching that person flourish and develop into someone that can pass that same love to other people. There is so much fun to be had in the life we are given, especially when you aren't spending all your time fretting and worrying about the things that enter your mind on a daily basis. 

Personal freedom invokes pure, lasting love and I often daydream about how our world would be if we could all have complete focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and/or praiseworthy.

For now, I just keep trying to focus on doing my part until that world is my reality.

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