Staying Power – Part II

The Problem

We are a distracted people.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a problem watching commercials.  It doesn’t matter how important the show, or sporting event, I will almost always compulsively reach for the remote when a commercial break comes.  I have missed game winning touchdowns, season finales and key moments of a series I’ve followed for years due to this annoying trait.  It also suckers me into watching other shows that I had no initial intention of watching, keeping me glued to the tube for over an hour watching some show like “Cake Boss” or “Swamp Loggers”.  I would never in my right mind have chosen to watch those shows on my own.  The commercials made me do it.

Unfortunately, we seem to mirror that with our ministries.  We become so distracted by the things we need to accomplish that we have trouble staying focused.  Just like my television habits I become preoccupied with a checklist instead of what’s important.  We get bogged down by the details – just intent on checking off the next item on our list.  We get busy to stay noticed instead of focused on what is vital.  In many ministries I have gotten to the place where I look at where we are and think, “how on earth did I just get here?”  In particular I remember being a part of the youth ministry and creating our own “carnival” out in the parking lot of the church.  I only had time to wonder for just a moment about the purpose (I couldn’t answer that one) before I busied myself with another task.

We know this about ourselves and cater to it in others.  We fear becoming obsolete or outdated.  We need to keep ourselves at the forefront of people’s minds.  People could choose somewhere else to go.  Another ministry to serve in or be served by.  We would hate to see them leave.  It would make us feel so – unnecessary.  So we work.  And put more on our plate.  But what are we really doing?  Who are we doing it for?

The problem is really ourselves.  We begin to think that this work relies on us instead of Him.  We have a focus on the product instead of the Creator.  Unless I’m alone in this, we have a problem here.   The Two Pennies has an extensive list of projects that we feel led to work on.  Churches, libraries, schools, orphanages and individuals are relying on our help.  It is easy to see how we could become distracted and fall into the all familiar trap.  We need to stay focused.

I wish I had answers to this problem.  I wish I could say that will no longer fall into this trap.  In the final blog on this topic I will discuss what I believe the Lord wants from us.  In the meantime, let me know what you think.


  • Dave Shirk says:

    God gives us the ability to deal with each situation as it arises. If the batteries in your TV remote went dead, you would be able to deal with that situation as the importance became #1. In my life, and in my work, I wear several hats. At work, I often have to switch importance from one area to another with a clear head and committment. At home, I also need to direct my priorities as things change. As a caregiver for my wife, I may be in the middle of cooking supper or watching an interesting movie…but if I hear “we need to take a trip to the emergency room soon”, I switch hats and calmly stop what I’m doing, grab the car keys, and help her to the car. Life is full of challenges. Some are boring, fun, exciting, or even frustrating. One of God’s gifts to us is the ability as humans to make the changes we need to make on the spot…and not dwell on something we could have been doing. Everything in it’s time.

    • Jim Reed says:

      You are absolutely right David! It takes us focusing moment by moment in the situations that the Lord puts us in to honor him in those moments. Thanks for your words of wisdom.