But when he saw the strong wind and the waves,
he was terrified and began to sink.
“Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
I’ve been known to miss what I focus on—even when it’s a large target.
I had always hunted deer with dogs and a shotgun. Stand on the side of the road or the edge of the woods, wait for the dogs to run the deer to me, and shoot. Then I moved near a friend who liked to still hunt. Climb a tree, sit in a stand, and hope a deer will walk by the stand. For this kind of hunting, a rifle worked better.
After purchasing one at a local retail store, I set out for my first adventure. About dusk, a herd of deer walked out of the woods about 200 yards from me. I carefully raised my rifle, zeroed in on a buck, and squeezed the trigger. The rifle fired; the deer didn’t move. Strange, I thought. When this had happened twice, I checked my scope. Sure enough, the rifle was shooting about 20 feet above where I was aiming.
For Peter, it wasn’t a rifle. He and the other disciples were fighting a storm in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus suddenly appeared, walking on the water. Peter wanted to try it too, and Jesus gave him permission. He did fine until he noticed the raging waves pounding his ankles. When he focused on the waves, he sank.
At the end of the day, a faulty scope and rough water are small distractions compared to other things that can steal my focus from serving God faithfully and loving Him unconditionally. Perhaps the major focus-stealer for many people is busyness— work, relationships, hobbies, children, school, homework, community affairs. None of these are sinful, but all of them can rob me of life’s true joy.
Taking time to ponder my daily lifestyle can reveal my priorities. The results may be shocking. When my priorities are out of whack, they steal my focus.
Step back and take a look at your life. Let God show you what might be out of focus.
Prayer: Father, focus our attention on the exact plan and purpose You have for our lives. Amen.
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What are some things that steal your focus?
by Martin Wiles
Martin Wiles is a minister, author, English teacher, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is the author of six books, including his two latest, Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He has been published in a number of periodicals, books, and newspapers. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.