As I reflect on recent discussions with a young gentleman on his newfound faith in Christ, I feel compelled to write on the subject of focusing on what really matters.
Focusing has real value in all endeavors. In most matters, proper focus can dramatically change the course of our individual lives. When a team is focused, it can change the course of their corporate efforts as well.
It’s not about success, but knowing that you are striving for excellence in reaching a desired goal.
This young fellow I’m currently discipling has been quite focused in certain aspects of his life over the three years I’ve come to know him fairly intimately. What I observed from his past is an intense desire to become the best in a given discipline at the unfortunate expense of other facets of his life.
Lately we’ve been talking about the significance of proper balance. This world can cause us to steer off course on what really matters.
I can talk on this subject from my own personal experience going back more than 50 years. My first passion was baseball. Then golf took over first place.
Through it all, I somehow completed college in four years, but my focus was certainly not on learning all I could during those intense years of undergraduate study.
Much in life requires focus and concentration and dedication. It’s important to properly focus on multiple facets of our complex lives.
Let’s consider my golf game as a light-hearted example. These days, I know there are times to focus on the next shot and there are times to focus on what’s going on around me. Golf has become a social outlet and it would be quite inconsiderate to block out my playing partners and only focus on my game.
That would be extremely selfish and take away from my goal to simply enjoy the walk in the park with friends. Even in competitive rounds, I still do my best to remain sociable and enjoy the company of others.
There was a time early on in my insurance career when I bought into the corporate philosophy of increasing my activity in order to help more clients and make more money. It took four days of hospitalization with double pneumonia for God to get my attention and change my attitude on what really matters.
My focus turned from love of money to a deep love of God and His people. That was the beginning of my journey of loving and caring about those He places in my path.
We all need to come to grips with what really matters during our short time on this planet. As a follower of Christ, I’ve come to understand that I need to be obedient to my Savior and Lord, and His desire is for me to reflect on the oldest prayer found in Scripture, the Shama’ (shaw-mah’).
In my own words, part of my daily prayer each morning goes something like this: “Lord, I love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength. Lord, please help me to love others as I love myself.”
Let me close this discussion with Paul’s godly counsel on what he observes as the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Paul then continues in verses 24-26: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
If you truly love the Lord, you would be wise to do what this young disciple plans to do this day forward. Focus on what really matters and live your life accordingly.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.