November 18, 2017

Pastoral Nuggets: What We Focus On

A lady shook the preacher’s hand one Sunday as she was leaving church and told him this would be her last service; she was leaving.

The pastor asked her if she would tell him why. She said something to the effect of too much gossip, too many rumors, etc.

The pastor asked her to hang around for a few minutes. He wanted to speak more with her. After everybody had left he motioned for her to step back into the sanctuary. He told her he would be back in a few minutes and asked her to wait.

When he returned, he was carrying a steaming hot cup of coffee that he had filled to the brim. He very carefully handed it to her. He then asked her to walk three times around the inside walls of the sanctuary while carrying that cup of coffee. He reminded her to be sure not to spill a drop. He then told her that he would stand in the pulpit and preach while she was walking.

When she finished, he stepped out of the pulpit, took the cup of coffee from her, sat it down, and asked her what he just preached about. She exclaimed, “How am I supposed to know what you preached about? I’ve been focused on not spilling any coffee!” He simply replied, “Exactly!” Here’s the moral of the story: Whatever we focused on determines what we see, what we believe, and how we act. Period!

It is October 2, 2017 as I sit at my computer writing this article. The events of the senseless, tragic, inexplicable shooting in Las Vegas are still unfolding. I find myself running the gamut of emotions. I find myself heartbroken, sad, stunned, mystified, and angry all at the same time. I try to process, but it just won’t process.

I ask myself why, only to discover I cannot rationalize the irrational, or come up with a reason for the unreasonable. I can only deduce that whatever the shooter was focused on determined what he saw, what he believed, and how he acted.

Cars with automatic transmissions come equipped with a passing gear. The passing gear has a specific purpose, that being, to increase the speed of the car quickly for a short period of time. However, cars are not designed to run in passing gear 100% of the time.

If you push the pedal to the metal and just hold the car in passing gear, the engine will literally fly apart. It simply wasn’t designed for, nor can it stand running at excessively high RPM’s for very long.

Now, I’m sure that as you have read the verbiage above, you are wondering why I went from speaking about the massacre in Las Vegas to car transmissions and passing gears. The explanation is simple. As individuals, and as a country, when it comes to our religion, politics, sports, or any other particular belief or opinion we may hold, discussion and civil discourse is a good thing.

However, when we, as the woman with the cup of coffee, become singularly focused upon any one thing, then it begins to determine what we see, what we believe, and how we act. As we give more fuel to our side of the argument, we hit passing gear! And if we hold it there long enough, something is going to fly apart.

In my sixty-two years of life, I have never seen America more divided than it is today. Political correctness has run amuck, common sense has died, civil discourse and the honest exchange of ideas has faded, friend has turned against friend, families have turned against themselves, and all sides of all the issues have dug-in and have pushed the pedal to the metal, demanding that anybody in opposition, capitulate to them. And we don’t have enough sense to let up on the accelerator.

Consequently, the America I grew up in and love is flying apart at the seams!  At it angers me!

As Hosea 8:7 says, I’m afraid we have sown the wind and have reaped the whirlwind!

Rest assured that whatever we focus on, good or bad, will determine what we see, what we believe, and how we act.  Period!  God help us to let up on the gas pedal and once again focus upon the Lord!

Brother Aaron  

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