We live in a society that is “focused” and which demands we multitask. We never “let our guard down.” We look back on what we could have done better. We plan ahead for what we want to achieve in our life. Yet, John 10:10 tells us “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Has all this multitasking, and all this “remaining in focus” really accomplished anything for us? Are we, in not “letting our guard down” preventing ourselves from receiving the flow of grace the Lord promises us? Do we “have life and have it abundantly” or are we so egocentric that we have only achieved a storehouse of that which a thief can “steal and kill and destroy” and all the while lost our true focus – life with Christ?
I was reminded recently that there are those who have but a thimble full of the “riches” we have in America. The picture was disturbing, at first. I don’t feel rich. Who are “they” who have so little that I’m accused of possessing “riches?” Yet this illusive “they” are described as full of joy. How can this be? Does this concept even make any sense? “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
I have trouble sleeping. I lay in my bed and think of all I “need to accomplish” and feel negative emotion come over me, reminding me that I’ve failed. I look back and wonder if I could have worked harder and somehow done things differently. I look ahead and wonder how I am to ever get to where I want to be. When the sun once again rises and I’ve not rested, I strive to focus on that goal ahead of me and charge on. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
My driving instructor back before I had my license to operate a car always reminded me that ‘where you look is where you’ll head.” Multitasking – doing many things at once. “Focused.” Can we ever really effectively focus on many things at once and is there hope of doing any one of those things well? Where is our focus? Where should it be? When I charge ahead toward a goal I set for myself – and seek the things I am certain I need – I often do achieve them. I find, though, that they disappoint me. Where is my focus? Where should it be? “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The son of a peasant girl and stepson of a carpenter set out to change the world. He drove no fancy car. His hair wasn’t stylishly coiffed, nor even always washed. His feet were dusty much of the time. He chose to spend his time with 12 of society’s misfits. Those misfits didn’t multitask. They followed this man. They didn’t know where they were being led. They focused on him. Life was tiring and was hugely challenging. They didn’t know where they would sleep come nightfall. They didn’t always know if there would be food to eat. He died young leaving them to carry on the business, a business they hardly understood. A business which surely any sensible person would realize wad doomed to fail. It didn’t. How can this be? “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
He left them to carry on, but empowered them. He is God with us. He is still with us. He is with us now, in the present. As long as our focus is on our own agenda, it cannot be on Him. As long as we persist in looking back at what might have been done differently and look far ahead into what we, in our limited wisdom, believe we need, we take our focus off the present and we shut Him out. There is no need to carry the weight of many tasks on our shoulders, nor to be kept awake at night by a job unfinished. A friend reminded me recently that all I have to do is to wake up and ask Jesus “what do you want me to do for you today?” He will enable me to do it. That’s all that really matters. I was looking at a friend recently who seemed distracted and tense. He said “I’m just focused.” It was probably like looking in a mirror, as his mind was on many things that he had to get done. It’s oddly difficult to let go of our plan and focus on the Lord and trust in Him yet that is really all that we need to do. He is our all in all. It shouldn’t be as difficult as we make it. As we learn to trust in Him completely, however, we truly do discover that “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Amen.