I turn 63 this year, and have lived more yesterdays than tomorrows. This simply means I cannot afford to spend time on the peripheral issues in life. The need to be focused is greater now than ever.
There’s tremendous power in a focused life. The apostle Paul says, “This one thing I do… Forgetting the things in the past, I press on.” He was not all over the place like so many Christians today – he lived a very focused life.
Jesus said the same thing when Martha complained about her sister Mary, “There is one thing that is needful and Mary has chosen the best part.” She was not distracted by peripheral issues as nothing was more important than giving full attention to Jesus.
One great unsung hero of the Bible is Anna. After her husband died, she lived in the Temple as a widow all her life and focused on one thing – to ‘pray in’ the Messiah. Day and night, night and day, she did not let up and God rewarded her faithfulness by letting her to see the ‘Salvation of the World’. That was her life’s assignment and we’re all beneficiaries of this woman’s intercession.
Our big challenge in today’s digital age is the amount of information and entertainment we’ve access to at any time. With a click of a button, you’re connected to the latest breaking news. And the distraction never ends.
The secret of concentration lies in elimination. If you eliminate all non-essential and secondary obligations, you can focus on your core mission far more effectively.
The modern discovery of laser is nothing more than the concentration of light on a very fixed point. You’ll be surprised just how much more effective and productive you’d be when you concentrate your energy on your core mission.
A leader’s true effectiveness lies in his ability to concentrate his energies on the work he’s responsible for. And what do we do with the rest of our responsibilities of ministry? Delegate. This can only be achieved by building a team of people around you. Let others be your eyes, hands, and feet in places where you cannot go.
If you’re a leader, I strongly suggest you try not to pack your calendar with too many programmes and diminish what’s really your eternal call and purpose.
FOCUS is really vital in our journey because, if we fight the battles we aren’t supposed to, we won’t have the strength for the ones we’re called to fight. I’m not afraid of failure; I’m afraid to succeed in things that have no eternal value.
Larry Stockstill, the former pastor of Bethany Church in Baton Rouge, told me an amazing story of Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. Dining with a small group of pastors, the conversation revolved around a certain pastor who had recently fallen into immorality.
As the pastors engaged in conversation, Pastor Larry noted Brother Bonnke staring at the ceiling, totally disengaged. So he asked him what he thought about that pastor and this is what Bonnke said (in his strong German accent), “That all Africa might be saved!”
I love that about Brother Bonnke. He wasn’t bothered by peripheral issues. He was totally focused and committed to saving souls. Is it any wonder why he was one of the most effective evangelists ever in Church history? Each time I met him, I saw that single-minded, laser-like focus. He wasn’t distracted by small things. He once told us, “You don’t stop a combined harvester to catch a little mouse.”
There’s a difference between a river and a flood. A river is very useful as it’s focused. It has a course it follows and does not deviate from. It stays within its banks. But a flood results when boundaries aren’t respected. And it’s highly destructive. It oozes all over the place, destroys livestock and vegetation, a mile wide and an inch deep, has no impact, and is very damaging.
I suspect many pastors start off as rivers but end up being floods. Listen, you can do anything but you can’t do everything. We’ve to learn to say “NO!” to the things that God has not called us to. So don’t live life at the peripherals. Find your CORE and stay true to it.