Encouragement 05-07-04


May 7, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Finding the Focus
Ginger Plowman, Speaker, Author, Assistant Director for Proverbs 31 Ministries
Key Verse:  
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:2, NIV)

My friend, James, is a godly man.  He desires to glorify God in all that he does.  When he started his new job, I wasn't surprised when he wrote the name "Jesus" on a card and pinned it to the center of his bulletin board at work.  James wanted Jesus to be the very "center" of everything.  It wasn't too long before co-workers began flooding his office with paperwork.  As James ran out of room on his desk, he began to pin his "to do" lists on the bulletin board.  He managed to keep the name of Jesus shining in the center for a while.  But eventually, it got covered up by the mounds of work that vied for his attention.
There was once a woman named Martha, who wanted to keep Jesus the center of her life.  She couldn't wait to have him as a guest in her home.  She was excited to honor Jesus, and had every intention of keeping her focus on him.  However, as the demands of preparing meals and cleaning her house began flooding in, her true focus got covered up.  She even got angry with her sister, whose focus was rightly on Jesus.   
Then there's me.  I earnestly pray that God would be glorified and remain the center of this ministry, which he has entrusted to me.  When I speak and write, I want Jesus to be the reason. But writing deadlines and travel preparations begin to flood in and suddenly, I'm caught up in a whirlwind of details.  My spiritual vision blurs and my motives lose focus.  The sweet name of Jesus gets lost under a pile of responsibilities. 
When my friend, James, realized what was happening, he removed all of the notes from his bulletin board and started fresh with nothing but the name of Jesus in the center.  When Martha began to get in a tizzy over "other things" Jesus reminded her to keep the main thing the main thing.  As for me, I have to constantly remove the details from the calendar of my mind and meditate on why I do what I do.  When I clear the mess, the name of Jesus always comes back into focus.    

My prayer for today:
Lord, help me to look beyond the responsibilities of life and focus on you.  Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you, even in the midst of chaos.  May I not become so consumed with things around me that I lose sight of you.

Application steps:
Set aside a few minutes every morning to meditate on Jesus by reading his Word and talking to Him.  Keep him the center of your daily responsibilities by acknowledging him while you do what you do.  Little prayers such as "I'm so thankful for your provisions for our family" and "How can I point my children to you today?" keep your focus on Christ.

Reflection points:
Consider your motives behind signing up for church activities or charity work.  Are you seeking to please others or God?
Pray through your list of commitments and ask God to reveal which ones are important to him and which ones aren't.
Ask your husband or a friend to hold you accountable to not be busy with so many things that you sacrifice time sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Power verses:
Luke 10:41-42 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (NIV)
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)

Additional resources:
Leading Women to the Heart of God by Lysa Terkeurst
The Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes
A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

Originally published Friday, 07 May 2004.