Focus   Leave a comment

The hymn says, “…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim…”

What is your main focus in life?  If it is not drawing nearer to the Lord, let me suggest that you may be missing the mark, even if only by a little.

For example, I know many people whose lives are dedicated to various areas of service in God’s kingdom work.  Many are dedicated evangelists, some are wonderful teachers, and others are great with behind the scenes activities, while still others seem to accelerate at calling and visiting those who simply need a friend.

All of these are fantastic ministries that are vital in God’s kingdom work.  But let me tell you something that is more important than these acts of servanthood – staying attached to the One who encourages the service.

Jesus said that He is the vine and we are the branches, and if we simply stay attached to the vine, everything will go well in our lives and in our ministries.  He also said that if we are separated from the vine, we are capable of producing precisely nothing!  Don’t misunderstand me.  I am not saying that everything we do will be void of challenges and troubles.  I am saying that our closeness to God directly affects the results of our ministry efforts.

I love to serve and I love serving with others who love to serve.  Everywhere I have been I have been accused of being a workaholic, until recently.  I finally learned that this is not necessary in God’s work and in fact is contrary to His will for my life.  You see, He has blessed me with a family that needs husband and father, brother, son and so on.  If I poured all of my life into “church duties” as I used to, then my family would suffer from my absence.  God has called me into His ministry but He has also called me to be a family man.  I must proclaim His word and take care of my family too.

It is a matter of focus.  The most important focus every Christian should have is in their daily relationship with the Lord.  The group Spiral Staircase wrote a song years ago that to this day means very much to me.  The song title is, “More Today than Yesterday.”  The words in the chorus are what mean the most to me.  Although I’m slightly paraphrasing, here’s what it says – I love you more today than yesterday, but only half as much as tomorrow.  Actually, I think that these words are used in a couple of different places in the chorus, but you catch my meaning.

I found a plaque years ago with those words on it, bought it, and to this day it hangs in my house for my wife and I to see.  Diane knows that no matter what yesterday may have brought, I love her even more today than yesterday.  What’s even better, she has a continual commitment from me that all of the love I can muster for her today will somehow increase tomorrow.  I do my best to live this promise.

This promise also applies to my relationship with God.  Every day, I do my best to wake up and honor Him for everything He means to me, and how much I love Him.  I strive to love Him more and more with each passing day, doing my best to learn to somehow love Him more than I even know how.  Tomorrow, I’ll love Him even more than today.

The closer I get to God, the more my focus develops in all of life’s issues.  The more time I spend at the feet of my Lord, the more I learn about my purpose in life and find strength and encouragement to do His will.  The closer I get, the clearer things become.

A few years ago, a friend of mine preached a revival for me at our church.  He made a statement in one of his messages that will never leave me.  He said that he can never sing Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus the way it is written because of something he discovered – the same thing I have discovered to be true in my life.  The closer I get to God, it’s not so much that the things of earth fade into the background as I lean heavenward, but it’s more like God’s presence in me helps me to live my life while still here.  The song, and the way I sing it now and ever shall sing it, now goes like this for me…

“…and the things of earth will grow strangely clear, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Posted September 14, 2008 by David N. Peppler, Sr. in Closeness to God, Family, God's Will, Service

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